I had a chance to source out a few more resources today and spoke to the womens house at work in regards to the Challenge. Their main concern in Kenora is the busing system and that there are resources such as meals, crafting, kids sports and groups, AA and educational classes available in the evening and no way to get home afterwards. From my understanding the buses stop at 6PM, then they would have to walk or catch a cab home. One woman mentioned having reduces cab fare or later bus times. So my comment the other day about waiting for the bus after sports in the evening wouldn't fly...I would have to come up with the cash to get home by cab.
I also stopped by Ne Chee on my way to work and found out they do have a food program for their clients, the woman I spoke to was very helpful and provided me with some reading material on the services they provide which include parenting classes and support, child minding while receiving support, a variety of legal progams, and a variety of children's programs and classes.
Of all the resources I have come across over the past week, I believe that the Minto Resource Centre is in the top 3. The center's building is provided through the Kenora District Service Board, the staff are funding through Firefly/Best start Hub, they operate on donations from the community and are supported by the Legal Clinic, the Sexual Assault Centre and the Health Unit who help to provide programming.
The Centre does one thing that I thought was needed and I think I blogged about...buying in bulk and selling things in smaller rations. They buy things such as sugar on sale and in bulk and then sell them in more affordable quantities to people. This is called the 'Food buying club'. For 25 cents you can get oatmeal, a granola bar or even a pudding. They had laundry soap there and even some personal need supplies. They also have Laundry machines for $1 to wash, $1 to dry, a fax maching, access to a computer, telephone, parenting classes, baby food making classes, a woman's kitchen, Lunches on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with Snacks available anytime as well as toys or a safe environment to go to to get out of the house. I was impressed with their Breakfast coupon program that provides a voucher for loaf and Jug to get Milk, bread, and either eggs or apple juice for $1.50. This would be a way to stretch your dollar!
I could see this is a resource that is being used, there were a few women there for coffee (I was informed they always have tea and coffee brewing) who were quite interested in the challenge and graciously offered up their opinions of challenges they have faced in our community. The woman I spoke to was going to try and get her word to the city that there should be a newsletter or site where all of the resources for low income residents of Kenora could be available and updated. She had moved from out of town and found it difficult to source out resources on a low income.
I also want to note that every Wednesday at the centre they have Baking-in-a-Bag where you can pick up everything that is needed to bake something at home...tomorrow is brownies so I guess I found another way to do the baking for a bake sale for nothing but if I was living on OW I probably would not send anything to school and be able to have a treat at home with the kiddos.