The Cariboo Friendship Society continues to be busy during the COVID-19 pandemic offering essential services with its emergency shelter, transition house, food security programs and social housing. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Offering essential services during COVID-19 keeps Cariboo Friendship Society busy

Emergency shelter, transition house, social housing and food security programs are intact

Deemed as an essential service, the Cariboo Friendship Society in Williams Lake continues to operate and has received an additional 188 requests for assistance from urban Aboriginal people since the announcement about potential funding.

The society’s emergency homeless shelter, transition house, social housing and food security programs are all running, said executive director Rosanna McGregor.

“Our restaurant is open for pick up only and is still preparing meals for the emergency shelter and twice a week for our elders program,” she told the Tribune. “All of our outreach staff are assisting with shopping for shut ins and high risk people as well as answering questions about how to apply for Covid relief funds.”

Additionally, income tax returns are continuing to be e-filed and staff are getting lots of call for last year’s tax return amounts for benefit filling.

Read more: Trudeau announces pay top-up for essential workers, expands emergency benefit

“We are asking tenants to stay in where possible and have set up e-transfers wherever possible for rent payments,” McGregor said.

Headstart and PEACE staff are distributing care packages to help keep children occupied and Pregnancy Outreach is distributing vouchers to clients to ensure good prenatal nutrition.

Phone support is always available, McGregor added.

“We are working with the health authority and BC Housing to ensure that we have exposure control plans and we have many mental health and addictions support staff doing over-the-phone counsels.”

McGregor said staff are isolated behind plexi glass to minimize exposures.

“We pray for health, safety and strength for our people to get through this.”

Praising her team, she said CFS has been happy to have been assisting in the community for the past 50 years.

“I am proud to be a member of the friendship centre family,” she added.

Read more: Cariboo Friendship Society shelter busy amid cold snap

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