The way JoAnne White sees it, the role of Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services is to offer unwavering support.
“We want to continuously support families in our community,” White says. Under normal circumstances that would mean a wide variety of programming at the Family Place Community Parenting Centre and outreach supports, but White and her team are getting creative during physical isolation.
- Busy Bags: Thanks to support from the Sandbox Project, Costco, and Superstore, White and her team have delivered bags full of resources, books, science activities, colouring sheets and crafts, right to families’ doors. “It’s a way to help families stay healthy, interactive, and as harmonious as possible.”
- Storytime on Facebook Live: White reads bedtime stories on the Family Place Community Parenting Centre Facebook Page to comfort kids during these uncertain times. “The videos can be a new part of a child’s routine, something to enjoy with their parents, and allows them to see a familiar face and feel connected,” she says.
- The Family Place Community Parenting Centre: This vibrant hub is a place for parents to connect with others, receive guidance, support and comfort, and many of these supports are still available even while the centre is closed due to the pandemic. “We’re doing a lot of phone calls with parents, lively sing-alongs and virtual coffee time; we’ve even done vehicle-to-vehicle chats. We can talk about the things parents are struggling with, and maintain some parent support.” Community Parenting Program helps with paperwork for programs like B.C. Housing and income assistance, and can do contact-less drop off to help get forms signed and submitted. “We want to help families reach their full potential, and we support them along that road.”
- Daddy and Me: Ordinarily the Daddy and Me drop-in group shares a meal, resources and playtime in a comfortable environment for dads and dad-figures of children under the age of six. The male facilitator is still doing phone check-ins and dropping off resources with families, and is also posting lots of fun content on their Facebook Page.
- Meal programs and cooking ideas: Thanks to a grant from the Breakfast Club of Canada, every Busy Bag includes a breakfast of cereal, apple sauce and other treats. “Even for kids who aren’t facing food insecurity, the breakfast bag is a special treat, put together by someone who really cares for that child,” says White. Family Place and CCRR programs are also working with local grocery stores to put together a children’s cookbook and supplies. “We’ll provide some ingredients and recipes, and then host videos to make the meal together.”
- Child Care Resource & Referral: CCRR continuously supports childcare centres in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. They offer zoom workshops, care providers support, Affordable Child Care Benefits, grant information, and much more.
If you’d like help ensure no family goes without, visit comservice.bc.ca to make a secure online donation or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about available programs at Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services, visit comservice.bc.ca.