Inspired by Pastor Tom Oshiro, the Mustard Seed Family Centre began in 2012 with the goal of reducing the impact of poverty on vulnerable families and when possible, breaking the cycle. Our hope is that children who are poor have the best possible quality of life now and in the future. We want to stop intergenerational poverty, and we start with walking alongside the parents.
Check out the following local news segments to learn more!
One in 5 children in BC lives in poverty and this rate of child poverty in our province has existed for at least 20 years. Single parent families fare even worse with more than 50% of children living in poverty. And approximately one third of children who lived in poor families in 2011, lived in homes with at least one adult working full time, full year. This information is from First Call BC’s Child Poverty Report Card 2015 which gives a detailed picture of child poverty in B.C.
The high cost of living in Victoria, including the lack of affordable housing, means that many families struggle. Often this translates into intergenerational poverty because it is not easy to break the cycle of poverty. The new CCB (Canada Child Benefit) effective July, 2016 will increase financial support provided by the federal government to children of low income families and this will provide some needed relief.
The Mustard Seed Street Church serves many families who are food insecure; an estimated 650 families a month receive food from our Food Bank.
Find out more from the Victoria Foundation Vital Signs Survey
If you are a family:
I have come to know and understand some of the challenges families living on low incomes face in our community and if you are in this position, please contact me. The Family Centre may be a helpful and positive connection for you whatever your individual situation. Please connect with me either by phone 250-953-1575, email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can drop by and see if I am available.
If you are a donor or potential donor:
Thank you. You are making a difference in the lives of children now and in the future through your financial support. Your commitment to low income families is invaluable and appreciated.
The Family Centre offers a variety of services to support families including:
- PATHWAYS for Families small group workshop series covering financial literacy, parenting, cooking, lifelong learning, employment strategies, visioning and goal setting
- Skill development opportunities – First Aid, Food Safe, WHMIS, Serving It Right, Basic Cash Register Training
- Pre-employment support with resumes, job search strategies and coaching
- Individual sessions with parents – referrals to appropriate community resources, coaching and counselling, help with forms, etc.
- Emergency assistance as resources permit
- Twice monthly Sunday Family Dinners with delicious food, crafts and hockey
- Facilitate RESPs and Canada Learning Bonds for eligible children (see Access Funding for Children)
The Family Centre is committed to helping parents secure future educational opportunities for their children. If your child was born in 2004 or later, he/she could be eligible for government funds for their future education.
The Canada Learning Bond provides up to $2000 in grants per child! No contribution necessary nor does it affect any other benefits. Click here to sign up through SmartSavers, and make sure to select The Mustard Seed at the end of the application! No contribution necessary, and does not affect any other benefits you may receive.
British Columbia Training and Education Savings Grant – This grant is available for those who have an RESP set up and children between the ages of 6-9, born after 2006. By combining this with the Canada Learning Bond, your child will have up to $3,200 towards their post secondary education!
Registered Disability Savings Plan, an excellent way to help ensure the future for someone with a disability (children, youth and adults may qualify). Please contact Diane for more information about the RDSP.