FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District approved sending a letter in support of the Fort St. John Senior Citizens’ Association Branch 58 as they apply for provincial funding.

The association is seeking a $10,000 grant from the BC Hydro Go Fund through the Northern Development Initiative Trust. The funding would go towards the lunch program run by the group, which provides healthy, nutritious lunches for seniors—some of whom do not or cannot cook those meals for themselves. 

The lunches also encourage social interaction between seniors and “stimulates them socially, mentally, and emotionally,” Deb Vandal, the secretary for the senior’s association, explained in a letter to the PRRD.

Vandal explained that previous main sources of funding for all programming included hall rentals and bingo games—revenues from both of which have declined significantly during the pandemic. 

The lunch program alone costs $35,000 a year. A Co-op community fund grant provided $5,000 and a Go Fund Me campaign brought in another $10,000, which allowed the lunch program to start up. 

The letter of support from the PRRD will help the lunch program continue.

Anyone can be a member of the FSJ Senior Citizens’ Association, which offers special events and activities to support the social, mental, emotional and physical well-being of seniors in the area. Only members over 50 may vote in the organization.

“Caring for our seniors strengthens our community,” Vandal wrote.

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Grace Giesbrecht

Grace Giesbrecht is a news reporter for who recently graduated from Trinity Western University with a bachelor of arts in Media + Communications. She was born and raised just outside of Fort St. John. She began reporting for her university’s student newspaper and interned with Ottawa Life Magazine where she developed a passion for asking questions, telling stories, and the written word. In her free time, you can find her drinking coffee, snowboarding, or reading novels.