The Mustard Seed is asking the public to help fund their outreach programs, as the cost of living soars, and demand for their services is rapidly growing.
Since 1984, the Christian non-profit organization has provided emergency shelter, hot meals, and clothing for people in need. The organization says it is now facing an increase for affordable housing, health and wellness care and meal programs across B.C. and Alberta.
According to The Mustard Seed, they have served 700 more meals every day, provided shelter to 261 more people during the coldest time of the year and say they have seen a 31-per cent increase in health and wellness services.
“Specialty health care supports have always been difficult for those living in poverty to access due to lack of insurance or income. The affordability crisis has only heightened the demand for these essential services,” said senior director of health and wellness Laura Campbell.
Campbell says access services such as occupational therapy and counselling are often viewed as a luxury, and their donor partners make access to these services possible for the growing number of people who are unable to pay out of pocket.
“The number of guests being served at our hot meal programs, as well as those in need of additional hampers has dramatically increased,” said senior director of food services Laura Giesbrecht.
“ Those who were just barely getting by are now needing our help to make ends meet.”
The province of Alberta’s cost of living estimate says if you live without a roommate, accommodation costs can run between $9,600 to $12,600 a year, food was listed at $3,000 annually and clothing $600.
With miscellaneous costs such as phone, laundry and entertainment factored in, the total cost of living was $1,255 to 1,505 monthly or upwards of $18,060 for a full year.
With more people in need accessing their help, the Mustard Seed is asking the local community to support them, to meet the rising demand.
“The continued support of our communities means that we do not have to turn anyone away that needs a meal or additional food resources. Providing food helps mitigate a lot of stress for individuals and families as they struggle with food insecurity,” said Giesbrecht.
The non-profit organization is asking for donations that will be used for hot meals, health care, employment services and affordable housing.
The following men & women’s Items are urgently needed:
T-shirts and shorts
Underwear (small to large)
Rain jackets and ponchos
Reusable water bottles
Hygiene items (travel sizes preferred):
Tampons and other feminine hygiene products