By Justin Seward
The 40 Mile Regional FCSS (Family and Community Support Services) has become a valuable resource as the COVID-19 pandemic has moved along.
Between the Bow Island and Foremost offices, FCSS has been able to assist clients on a regular basis with their Employment Insurance, Canadian Emergency Response Benefit or other federal funding that people maybe eligible for.
FCSS has also served those that are looking for employment.
“We have continued to assist people that are looking for work and employers that have job positions available for people because they live in agricultural communities,” said Corinna Roth-Beacome, 40 Mile Regional FCSS executive director.
“We know that there are still some employment opportunities. So we are assisting people with resumes and try to connect them with potential employers. Although our offices are closed to walk-in traffic, we are still meeting with people one-to-one on appointment basis.”
Mental health and counseling services can be accessed through the FCSS as well.
FCSS continues to support the local food bank and connect those individuals, families and the vulnerable population with food safety and security.
“The food bank of course as we know reaches the entire County of Forty Mile,” said Roth-Beacome.
“We have reached out to the far rural south area in delivering food hampers to residents out there as well. We partner with the food bank board in providing that support to them.”
The organization was a successful recipient of $ 8,000 of United Way funding after the federal government announced last month that $ 9 million would be directed to seniors needs across the country.
Roth-Beacome says they will use their money towards the expansion of Meals on Wheels program in Bow Island.
“Now we can expand to support the residents in the County of Forty Mile as well as Foremost,” she said.
“We’re getting up to speed as to what that’s going to look like and delivering that out. We’ve had some referrals in from home care and other support agencies with individuals that benefit from that. We’re super excited to expand that for the next little bit.”
She anticipates that funding will last three to six months.
She says FCSS will be looking at ways that they can continue that program once the funding through the federal government runs out starting in the New Year.
The province announced recently that they were going to pour $ 30 million into the COVID-19 initiatives and FCSS was also successful with being the recipient for some money from them.
Roth-Beacome said that funding would go into the Low-German Mennonite community with translation support services in helping them access government supports to better understand the Alberta Health Services regulations COVID-19 and some of the safety precautions.
Overall, Roth-Beacome thinks the pandemic has showed how resilient the community has been and how fortunate FCSS has been to work with great support agencies that reach out to the rural communities.
People can phone into the FCSS office at (403) 545-2200 if they need programming assistance.