Cyrus Centre hopes to raise $70,000

Funds raised during the holiday centre support programs and services for at-risk youth year-round

Les Talvio

Les Talvio

Cyrus Centre in Abbotsford is hoping to raise $70,000 through the holiday season to help support the programs and services it offers year-round.

Executive director Les Talvio said the centre, which supports vulnerable and homeless youth, is in the same position as other local social service agencies such as the food bank and the Salvation Army: more demand for services with fewer resources to provide them.

Talvio said Cyrus Centre took a big hit this year when it lost $30,000 in funding from Xyolhemeylh Child and Family Services to provide services for First Nations youth.

He said people have less to give, and there’s much competition for those dollars.

“People make their choices on where their money is going, and we just hope they continue to support Cyrus Centre.”

The centre, located at 2616 Ware St., offers services every day of the year such as an emergency shelter, a resource centre, counselling, hot meals, family support and employment coaching.

It also runs Cyrus House, which provides a nurturing family environment to four kids under the age of 19 who cannot live with their own families. A married couple serves as the “house parents.”

Talvio said the facility, which is the only youth shelter between Vancouver and the Okanagan, served about 25,000 hot meals this year, compared to 20,000 in 2013.

Demand for services is constant, he said.

“We’re definitely steady on a regular basis now. There doesn’t seem to be any down time.”

The centre hosts a Christmas Day dinner, at which some gifts are provided. Cyrus Centre works closely with the Salvation Army and the Abbotsford Food Bank to ensure the youths’ needs are met, including the distribution of food hampers and other items.

In addition to cash, Cyrus Centre is also requesting donations of items such as hoodies, fast food gift cards, pyjama bottoms and household goods, including hot chocolate, cleaning supplies, sugar, powdered coffee creamer and office supplies.

For more information or to make a donation, visit cyruscentre.com or call 694-859-5773.