by Mona Mattei on Thursday Dec 22 2011
Many local organizations receive attention and donations at Christmas time, helping them to continue their important community work. This year, for example, Whispers of Hope welcomed the contribution from Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, Xi Gamma Nu chapter, whose elves came bearing food donated by the chapter’s members.
Each year the Sorority selects a local organization and brings them a Christmas gift to help them with their work. This year, the group chose the Whispers of Hope.
Whispers provides a safe, warm place for homeless, and low income people in the Grand Forks area to have a warm meal, pick up some needed clothes and to have a place to socialize.
Led by board members Mike and Thelma Robb, the Whispers organization is a labour of love for the volunteers. The board has seven members who work hard just to keep the doors open on their location.
“There has been no raise in welfare rates since 1988,” said Mike Robb. For those people reliant receiving income assistance, $565 a month doesn’t take you very far, he added.
Whispers of Hope operations are funded largely from a grant from the B.C. Lotteries fund, through donations, and from the money they earn selling clothes, equipment and other knick-knacks in their ad-hoc thrift store. Every piece of clothing costs 50 cents, and if you can’t find that, well you don’t leave without.
“Every time we earn a little money it goes into improvements in our space,” Robb continued.
Whispers of Hope works closely with the Boundary Food Bank to help those less fortunate in the area. They have been thankful for donations from the Grand Forks Credit Union and the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities. These grants have enabled them to buy fridges and freezers as well as a storage container.
But Robb, thankful as he is for the local support, said that Whispers really struggles from January to March to pay rent and utilities. Their gaming grant usually arrives in April, but by the end of December they are running short on cash.
So if your spirit of giving extends into 2012, consider supporting the Whispers of Hope to help others keep warm and fed through the worst of the winter months.