Family Resource Centre hosts fundraiser on June 21 to support summer program

June 7, 2023, 1:33 pm
Sierra D'Souza Butts

Moosomin Family Resource Centre (MFRC) Program Coordinator Sheryl Willms-Bromm and Board Chair Crystal Leshchyshyn spoke about their upcoming fundraiser at last week’s Chamber meeting.

At Tuesday’s Moosomin Chamber of Commerce meeting, Moosomin Family Resource Centre (MFRC) spoke about the organization’s plans for their upcoming barbecue fundraiser on June 21, where proceeds will go to support the MFRC’s summer program.

The not-for-profit organization heavily relies on grants to run their centre, and due to not receiving any federal government summer student grants this year, they need to raise funds for their summer program.

MFRC organizers said they plan to still offer the summer program and are aiming to raise enough money from their fundraising event.

“I’ve been the program co-ordinator for the last four and a half years, next to me is Crystal Leshchyshyn and she’s been our board chair for 22 years,” said Sheryl Willms-Bromm program coordinator of MFRC.

“MFRC was created in 2001 by a group of moms who wanted a space for their children to learn, play and grow together while allowing opportunities for new mothers to connect with one another.”

Leshchyshyn spoke about how helpful government grants and community donations have been towards supporting MFRC.

“All of the community out reach and programming we do, which includes resources, supplies, rent, utilities, and program equipment, along with healthy food and snacks all comes from grants, fundraising and community donations,” said Leshchyshyn.

“The not-for-profit continually seeks to provide all the opportunities and supports we highlighted, but can only do this with community support and grant funding.

“Today we’re here to make a little noise about our key program that we have not spoken about yet which is our summer programming for school aged children.

“We recently found out for the first time in 15 years that we will not receive funding through Canada Summer Jobs. This grant pays our summer student wages who help to create and facilitate our summer program.

“This was devastating to us as this federal funding allows us the opportunity to support our school aged children, and their families, while school is out for the summer, as well as hire local students within the community.

“This is really tough considering we’re in a daycare crisis right now with lack of spaces so for families, this has been seen as a very crucial program to help fill that gap of child care in the summer.

“As we looked at those that have received funding, we realized that other organizations like ours lost out on funding this year.

“The Moosomin Family Resource Centre has provided work experience for many youths over the past 15 years, girls, boys, minorities, those new to the workforce, giving youth an opportunity to be employed, and lead meaningful programming for our community.

“Some of our students have become nurses, teachers, have gone into the child care field, become engineers, and have seen working with children to be a very valuable experience.”

Once realizing they would not be receiving federal funding for this year’s program, MFRC reached out to local MP Dr. Robert Kitchen to see if anything could be done for the organization in the future.

“We immediately called Canada Summer Jobs which got us nowhere, and reached out to our local MP Dr. Robert Kitchen,” said Willms-Bromm.

“Dr. Kitchen and I talked personally and had a really meaningful conversation. He assured us it’s not the fault of MFRC that we were overlooked this year.

“We are confident our funding will be re-instated next summer, but do question the selection criteria of the Canada Summer Jobs program.”

The grant was submitted on November 29, 2022. and the MFRC received a confirmation email with reference number on December 13, 2022. The group received a rejection email on May 12, 2023. The group attempted to talk to Canada Summer Jobs staff after the rejection but say the did not get any answers.

BBQ fundraiser
In order to put on this year’s summer program, Leshchyshyn said the not-for-profit organization will need to raise $27,000.

“That brings us here today, with the support of Kevin at the World-Spectator and Borderland Co-op, we’ll be holding a free BBQ and book fair outside the Moosomin Family Resource Centre on June 21 from 11 a.m. till 1 p.m.,” Leshchyshyn told Chamber members.

“We will have a silver collection to help raise funds for our summer program. While our summer program will look different this year, we plan to bring in some fun and exciting events to the children of Moosomin with a reduced summer staff.

“We will not let this little hiccup stop us, and we will turn this disappointing news into something sweet this summer.”

Last year, MFRC received $15,000 from Canada Summer Jobs.

“Generally our summer program costs us about $27,000,” said Willms-Bromm.

“We’ve secured $5,000 through Community Initiatives Fund which we had used to help pay some of the rent and program supplies.”

MFRC well-used
Throughout the year, MFRC runs various programs for youth in the community.

“Operating as a non-profit board and one employee, Moosomin Family Resource Centre has grown a great deal over the years,” said Leshchyshyn.

“We currently offer programing for mothers and babies, toddlers, children with diverse needs, and school aged children. We also offer family centred programs such as Little Chefs. We are the only family resource centre in our area and have families from Moosomin, Rocanville, Wapella, Fleming, St. Lazare, and Maryfield that access programming, resources and supports on a regular basis.

“Our mandate is family and children focused, and we continually look for new ways to meet the needs of the community and surrounding area.”

During Covid, Leshchyshyn said the resource centre was able to provide necessities and fun activities for families.

“The pandemic is a great example of how we had to adapt to serve our community,” said Leshchyshyn.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, our centre shut down our in-person programming. We also lost a lot of fundraising opportunities, but that didn’t stop us from continuing to support families, not only in Moosomin, but surrounding communities.

“We made 100 busy bags that were given to children when they received their Covid immunizations and Covid testing, and we assembled over 3,000 take home craft kits for children to enjoy while being in lock down.

“We also secured funding through Second Harvest Food recipe three times during the pandemic, and provided over $40,000 in food hampers and essential needs to over one hundred families.”

Unfortunately because of the pandemic, MFRC had to stop their in-person programming.

“Our main focus post-pandemic returns to our face-to-face programs where we continue to provide support to families in need through our Food Security Program that we established during Covid,” said Willms-Bromm.

“We provide food hampers to families in crisis. We offer assistance to newcomers facing economic challenges. These supports are well received by those who access it, but we do not look for public recognition due to the sensitive nature of supported individuals and the families we assist who do not want it advertised that they are receiving support, and simply because we want to help people.”