United Way of the Fraser Valley announces grant recipients

Abbotsford organizations among community groups to receive funds

Dorothy Henneveld

Dorothy Henneveld

The United Way of the Fraser Valley (UWFV) announced its grant recipients for this year on Tuesday.

Community organizations from across the region have received funds to address issues of poverty reduction, affordable housing and homelessness, and early childhood success.

UWFV covers the area from Aldergrove and Mission, east to Boston Bar. They presented a total of $140,000 in grants to various groups, including multiple Abbotsford organizations, to provide community services in the Fraser Valley.

Wayne Green, the executive director of UWFV, said he was thrilled to make the announcements, as the money “translates into a lot of services.”

The Women’s Resource Society of the Fraser Valley received a grant to fund counseling services and an outreach worker for the Warm Zone. Abbotsford Community Services’ Autumn House and the Cyrus Centre both received grants to assist in programs to combat youth homelessness. Vibrant Abbotsford received a grant for a living wage program, which will assist community members living in poverty. The Abbotsford Early Childhood Committee also received funding for its program for early childhood screening for developmental delays.

The grant announcement was attended by representatives from each of the organizations, as well as Abbotsford South MLA John van Dongen, and Coun. Les Barkman.

The Cyrus Centre, an organization that works with at-risk and homeless youth in Abbotsford, received a small grant last year from UWFV. Les Talvio, director of the centre, said their organization was able to accomplish a lot with the amount they received.

The organization used the money to create a cooking program at the Cyrus Centre. It taught youth how to budget, plan, cook and serve a meal. Each Wednesday, the meal at the Cyrus Centre was provided by youth in the program. The youth also learned how to make meals using the food from hampers.

The centre also employed a housing worker for nine weeks to assist youth looking for stable housing. Talvio said it also helped their organization identify gaps in housing services in the community.

“We’re grateful for what we did receive.”

This year, their organization has received a larger grant. The total amount of grants awarded last year was $125,000, making this year’s total a 12 per cent increase.

Green said being able to grant the money is “absolutely fantastic” for communities across the Fraser Valley.

“It really is all about the community.”

UWFV is located in the Sweeney Neighbourhood Centre at Abbotsford Senior Secondary, 33355 Bevan Ave.