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!
The Mustard Seed operates the largest Food Bank in Victoria. The number of families relying on this service on a monthly basis has increased over the years to the current level of 950 families. One third of Food Bank users are children.
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 CCB (Canada Child Benefit) effective from July, 2016 provides some additional financial support for children of low income families and this will provide some needed relief but does not significantly improve the challenges faced by low income families, including families who are the “working poor”.
The 2017 Report Card from First Call BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition shows that child poverty in B.C. continues to be unacceptably high. The report highlights how growing inequality among B.C. families has 1 in 5 children living in poverty. Single parent families, recent immigrant children, off-reserve Aboriginal children and racialized children have poverty rates ranging from 23-47%. Most single parent families are led by women who are disproportionately affected by child poverty.
The report also highlights the kinds of policies that keep children and families locked in poverty. This research by First Call BC(firstcallbc.org) offers important evidence of the need to support families.
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 email@example.com 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, 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
- Join us once a month on the second Sunday of each month for family dinner at The Mustard Seed! Enjoy a delicious meal, meet new friends, and have a great time! Dinner starts at 5:00 pm.
- Facilitate RESPs and Canada Learning Bonds for eligible children (see Access Funding for Children)
(This service is largely thanks to generous donations from The TELUS Community Fund and The Congregation of Sisters of Saint Anne via Victoria Foundation)
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.