Abbotsford Community Services announced on Monday that it has had a name change and will now be known as Archway Community Services.
Executive director Rod Santiago said it took “a lot of brainstorming and research” to come up with a name that covered the agency’s many programs.
“In the end, we were drawn to the meaning behind Archway,” he said.
Santiago said Archway was chosen because it reflects “people helping people” in a collective effort to support the community.
He said an “arch” draws its strength from the individual pieces supporting each other, which is a metaphor for how Archway works with the community to support to those in need.
The “way” part of the name speaks to how the agency helps people looking to discover their direction and provide a positive path forward.
“This change will be more inclusive for the clients we serve beyond Abbotsford and reduce confusion, as people sometimes assume that Abbotsford Community Services is an arm of the government or City of Abbotsford,” Santiago said.
While the majority of the non-profit’s 90-plus programs are in Abbotsford, they also serve clients in Mission, Chilliwack, Langley and Chandigarh, India.
Archway has over 400 staff and 1,000 volunteers who provide services to children, parents, seniors, newcomers and those with diverse abilities, addictions or mental health challenges.
Programs are funded through government contracts, fees for services, grants and donations.
The Abbotsford Community Services Food Bank will also update its name to the Archway Food Bank and continue to provide food and basic necessities to more than 3,000 people a month.
Santiago assures people that while the name is changing, the mission is not.
“We will continue fostering community well-being and social justice through positive action and leadership in order to achieve the vision of ‘justice, opportunities and equitable access for all,’ “ he said.
The Matsqui-Sumas-Abbotsford (MSA) Community Services agency began in 1969 and later became Matsqui-Abbotsford Community Services (MACS) when the Village of Abbotsford and District of Sumas amalgamated.
Since 1995, they have been known as Abbotsford Community Services (ACS) after the districts of Abbotsford and Matsqui united under the City of Abbotsford.
“We had three name changes in my 31 years at the agency and it makes sense to move from a location-based name to a concept name,” said Walter Paetkau, founder and author of a book on the last 50 years of the agency’s history.
“When I heard the name for the first time, I was immediately taken with the meaning behind it. After 50 years, the agency is going to continue to evolve and this takes us to the next step.”
The previous website AbbotsfordCommunityServices.com will continue to be operational for a short time before all traffic is redirected to the new website at Archway.ca.