As a new year begins, we often reflect that it could be a time of renewal or an opportunity to restart, kick start or promote a change in our ways, lives, habits and thoughts.
At WCSS, we continue to see it as an opportunity to do the good, necessary and essential work to support the health and well-being of the community. We remain focused on connecting with our most vulnerable, advocating for mental health, playing a passionate and important role in waste diversion and promoting food security initiatives in our community. As we continue to remain focused on initiatives and objectives which reflect the history and commitment of our organization within the community we also each day, respond to the changing needs in our community and in a pandemic climate they sometimes develop quickly and urgently.
I remain grateful to the staff and volunteers who drive, direct and move our programs forward in the community and I am appreciative towards the individuals, donors, foundations and organizations which continue to support, collaborate and connect with our work. The Brew Creek Centre has been a dedicated donor to our food bank and food security program providing meals, ready made snacks to our food bank clients. As well, we kick off the new year with a matching campaign, supported by Brew Creek Centre which can double your impact when you donate to our food bank program in the month of January.
In recent months we have experienced the largest surge in need for Outreach, mental health and emotional support in the history of organization. Our Outreach Services is on track to have a 50% increase in client meetings, this fiscal year, in comparison to when we first moved into our village central Nesters Plaza location. WCSS Outreach and Food Security Teams have developed programs such as the food bank delivery program to those in isolation, housebound or immunocompromised and created, with the support of the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, hygiene kits to support those needed assistance to safely isolate in high density housing scenarios and keep their households and community members safe.
Last month, in partnership with the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, WCSS organized a New Years Eve party hosted by performer Ira Pettle in an effort to bring community together “virtually” to celebrate a year of challenge and invite families and individuals to stay connected to our services, programs and learn more about the tools we can offer to support a healthy community. We are grateful to the over 400 participants who danced the night away (young and young at heart). It created a sense of hope for our community and organization that united we can do great things and lift each other up even at a time when we physically must remain distant. More than ever we need to continue to come together and reduce the stigma of seeking assistance, connecting to resources in a community in an effort to be stronger and more resilient as this pandemic continues.
Like most individuals, my family and I hunkered down over the holidays over board games, crafts, activities and facetime calls to distant relatives. We became acquainted with a book by Charlie Mackesy called The Boy, the Mole, The Fox and the Horse. I was most struck by a quote which seems important to acknowledge and an important message as we move forward into 2021 “What is the bravest thing you ever said” asked the Boy. “Help” said the Horse.
I encourage you to continue to be brave, resilient, kind and calm as move forward into this new year and feel comfortable, curious and willing to learn more about what we do at WCSS, what we offer and how we can best support you and your households this new year.