FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Seniors Hall is looking to raise $12,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to resurrect its lunch program after having to cancel it due to financial constraints and the COVID-19 pandemic.
President of the FSJ Seniors Hall, Wendy Clayson, says pre-COVID, members would prepare and serve a nutritious lunch twice a week on the Hall’s social days.
“Due to financial constraints, COVID regulations, and the constant uncertainty of if we would be open or not, we cancelled the lunch program, and our seniors now bring their own brown bag lunch,” Clayson said.
Clayson stated that the organization is looking to restart the program, but due to COVID constraints and because many of their elderly members are no longer able to make the lunches, they are looking to have the lunches catered.
So far, the campaign has raised $550 out of its $12,000 goal.
Clayson says the lunch program is crucial to Hall members.
“Providing a healthy lunch with variety, free of charge to our members is a valuable service that enhances the quality of life for our members—nutritionally and socially,” Clayson said.
“The lunch program adds to the physical, emotional and mental benefits that the activities at the Seniors Hall give to our members who are then able to continue living independently,” Clayson said.
She adds that the Hall will put all the money raised from the GoFundMe campaign towards the lunch program. They have also applied for grants and received a $500 donation from North Peace Savings and Credit Union.
Clayson says being shut down for two years has seriously impacted the Hall’s revenue as they cannot rent it out or host bingo.
The city also removed permissive tax exemptions for non-profits in 2022, which means the Hall must now pay property taxes.
“We still had the usual operating expenses for the Hall, and now we have the added expense of property taxes which is roughly $4500.00 this year. Our operating expenses have also increased due to covid, ” Clayson said.
“For example, last year our insurance was $3,300.00 and this year it is $3,800.00. We were so grateful to VE Brandl Ltd for their timely donation of $3,000.”
Those interested in donating to the campaign can do so here.
Donations can also be made in person at the hall between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. To set up an alternative payment method, the hall can also be reached at 250-785-7897 or by email at [email protected]
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