By Melody Bosk
First I’d like to start off with a short mention of what’s happening with the Hunger-Free Kids Summer project, and then we will tread the wavy waters of how to survive after receiving a grant.
Before all else I’d like to thank the family/crew at the Food Bank for coming together during a stressful hamper week when we were suddenly left shorthanded- just while I was preparing to go on a summer trip to Manitoba! This group was amazing, and we pulled in my two kiddos near the end to help with clean up-thanks to all of you, Robert and I would be lost without our little Food Bank family! Some of us may be old and decrepit, but we stick together through thick and thin!
We’ve had no new additions to our summer program, and while I realize that we would expect families and children who need support to reach out to us if it was required, I’m concerned that some of them just don’t realize how easy it is to access our services or maybe intimidated or nervous about reaching out. I’d like to guarantee you once again that your information is kept private and is in no way reported to any agency.
This past week the kids received an amazing variety of foods including Produce, Vegetables, Dairy, lunch meat, bread, margarine, salmon, canned pasta, and cauliflower pasta, these easy meals help kids to be self-reliant. When older children are registered they receive additional “Meal” type of products and instructions. Packages are filled with items that are appropriate for age.
At this time we are fully loaded with everything a child would need over the summer months thanks to a few awesome people and businesses’ including Zelaney Farms, and a generous lady who has continually reached out to us- you are awesome Cheyenne! Thank you to all!
The Peaks and Valleys of Grants
Now I’d like to get down to brass tacks and give you some information on the infrastructure grant that was received for $45,000. If you recall I mentioned in my last update that I would explain a little more after a lady phoned the food bank and spoke with a volunteer and then proceeded to call our President on his cell phone and yell at him that this money should be going towards food for the kids and not pavement. I will try to explain the best I can. We are always happy to answer questions and had this woman asked and listened to an explanation instead of being angry and hanging up I’m certain she would have understood…and now without further ado let me explain as simply as I can.
Wal-Mart often sponsors grants; BC Food Banks were invited to submit a grant request. The terms of the grant if accepted are pre-determined so when a Food Bank has been accepted the terms and conditions must be followed. Our Food Bank applied for and received this infrastructure grant which was specified strictly for INFRASTRUCTURE- not food, not bills, not supplies.
We applied for this grant to purchase a large refrigerated container to store more products that become available through the Food Recovery Program. Our President knows that as our community grows that the demand for the Food Bank will also grow, it’s important that we recognize and deal with this when we have the option. Not doing this would be negligent on our part!
Eureka! We’ve got the grant and now comes the tricky part, for this refrigerated system to be installed in the back of the Food Bank the parking lot needs to be fixed. This includes pulling up and removing all concrete and preparing it for new pavement. At this time there is no grant approval for this; our president took on this financial endeavor hoping that a grant can be found soon. Yet due to the deadline of the grant things had to start taking place and soon.
Let’s take a look…It will take a year to have a contractor available to begin the process. With these large endeavors, contractors need to book many months ahead. So the process is this… the plan to move forward on a new infrastructure project takes place, contractors are asked to come and provide an estimate on the work needed. This in itself can be difficult as the summer months are booked long in advance and the contractor is now knee-deep into his own project. He arrives when he has time and then provides an estimate a week later, this is needed to apply for the grant, the application is now available and must be applied for by the due date… everything is on a timeline… including the time a grant needs to be used by. This is where it gets tricky. Because of the need to have everything in place to apply for the grant, the information needs to be gathered a year before…Then the rush is on to secure these contractors (which is now a year later after the initial estimate).
It’s a tricky two-step to have everything organized and prepared to come together once the application has been approved. Okay, so now we’ve been approved it’s time to rock ’n roll… or so you would think! Now you have to find out if those contractors will be available. Will the cost be the same? Will they be able to get it done before the deadline on the approval?
Now in our case, we received the approval and grant for the refrigerated container… Next, we sought out contractors to begin the parking lot and provide estimates… then became the challenge of finding another grant to apply for to hire the contractors… A grant was found and applied for to take care of the parking lot, sadly we were not accepted. So a new search for grants must ensure… meanwhile the timeline for the grant we had received for $45,000 is quickly coming due in September, if it hasn’t been used for what it was issued for then the grant must be returned.
For us to begin the process of having this new container we need to get the parking lot completed. And with the future in mind, our president hired and paid for a contractor that had some available time this year with his own money in hopes that another grant would come along soon that would be able to compensate. Yet now without the pavement being completed and no available funds to finish the parking lot, we may not even have a refrigerated container. IF the parking lot isn’t complete and the container put in, the $45.000 needs to be returned!
I understand that many of you may not know all the steps that need to be taken during the grant process, but we just need you to trust us. Our door is open to all, come ask questions, look around, and don’t be afraid to voice a concern—nicely!
Don’t forget to call us to register your child for the summer program- 250-547-2225 or call Whitevalley Community Resource Centre at 250-547-8866