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Sandra Lester, the vice-chair of the Hay River Seniors’ Society, holds restaurant and grocery vouchers that are being distributed to needy people in the community with funding recently obtained by the organization.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

The Hay River Seniors’ Society recently obtained $34,500 in funding, and about 90 per cent of it will go to help feed vulnerable people in the community.

Sandra Lester, the vice-chair of the society, said the funding involved $20,000 from the Good Food Fund of Community Food Centres Canada, and $14,500 from the federal government’s New Horizons program, which was channelled through United Way NWT in Yellowknife.

Lester noted that the Town of Hay River helped obtain the funding, which has to be applied for by a registered charity or a municipality, and the society is not a registered charity.

The town suggested that half of the $20,000 grant go to St. Andrew’s Anglican Church to assist with its food hamper program.

“And we were more than pleased with that, of course,” said Lester.

The society has used most of its funding to buy grocery and restaurant vouchers and cards to be distributed to those in need, including some earmarked for homeless people.

Lester noted the funding was received about a month ago, and the society has a three-month window to distribute it.

She said $1,000 of the funding has gone to the Home Care section of the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority for grocery and restaurant vouchers.

“It’s gone everywhere, and it’s making a little bit of an impact, especially now. The groceries are so expensive,” she said. “And it’s working out really well.”

Aside from food, some of the funding has also gone for things like toiletries and cab vouchers.

Rev. Francis Delaplain of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church was pleased to receive $10,000 of the funding, and is impressed by the generosity of the Hay River Seniors’ Society to share the money.

“We’ve used it in several ways,” Delaplain said, noting that includes for the church’s food hamper program, and to assist food programs at schools and the new men’s shelter.

“I think right now we’re averaging eight hamper deliveries a week,” he noted. “So for us it was so wonderful they were willing to partner with us and share that funding with us because it has really bolstered our program a lot.”

Delaplain noted the church has also given out grocery and restaurant vouchers.

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Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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  1. The money should be used on handing out food and other essential items for those in need and not handing out vouchers.
    Vouchers can be used for tobacco and other luxury items or sold for cash for a fraction of the voucher value.
    Money goes a lot further on groceries compared to the same amount of money spent at a restaurant.