(from l) James Chase, Shelley Magwood, Patty McKenzie, John Friesen, Roxy Stokes, and Joan Henderson in front of one of the new freezers purchased by The Equality Project with a donation from Highland Valley Teck, Aug. 2020. Photo credit: Barbara Roden

(from l) James Chase, Shelley Magwood, Patty McKenzie, John Friesen, Roxy Stokes, and Joan Henderson in front of one of the new freezers purchased by The Equality Project with a donation from Highland Valley Teck, Aug. 2020. Photo credit: Barbara Roden

Grants help Equality Project improve services for members

Cache Creek clubhouse has now reopened after weathering double whammy this spring

The Equality Project in Cache Creek was hit with a double whammy — flood evacuation and COVID-19 — earlier this year, but chairperson and public relations officer Joan Henderson says that the Stage Road clubhouse’s doors are once again open and most services have resumed.

The Project is open Monday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., for hot lunches, socializing, and other services, but had to close for five days this spring when the building was included in an Evacuation Order because of the threat of flooding.

“It really left us as a board fairly sad inside, because we were not being able to meet people’s needs,” says Henderson. “We were trying to figure out how to deliver food to people, but COVID-19 restrictions were in place, and we couldn’t go back to the clubhouse.”

Once back at the clubhouse, volunteers were again able to provide lunches, although the hours were limited to 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and instead of sit-down meals people picked up take-out meals at the door. That continued until mid-June, when the clubhouse was able to re-open its doors and welcome guests.

“The tables are distanced, and we have masks and sanitizer at the door. We got some grant money from the Red Cross for two janitors, so we have someone at the door to greet people and take names, make sure everything is sanitized after people leave, clean the washrooms fairly often, wipe down common touch points, and keep the rules in place. We’re still figuring out how to do things.”

While people using the clubhouse do not have to wear masks, they are available at the door for anyone who wants one. “When physical distancing isn’t possible we very much recommend they wear one, but we try to do distancing, although we have one coffee table who have formed a bubble, so they sit together.

“The Interior Savings Community Relief Fund paid for the purchase of masks, shields, and sanitizer. Those supplies go quite quickly.”

She says that during the period when it was take-out meals only, the numbers dropped from about 35 people each day to 25. “The people who came seemed fairly edgy. I know it was hard on a lot of them emotionally. We felt that there was a lot of fear of the unknown.

“And people missed socializing a lot. Some of the members could hardly wait when we started saying ‘We might be able to open next week.’ One fellow heard that and came and was waiting for us when we got there the following Monday at 9 a.m. People really emotionally need that community.”

She says that numbers are still a bit down. “For some reason there are a few who still hesitate. Some people have compromised immunity, and if they have health reasons it’s smarter to stay away. We still have 25 to 30 people coming every day.”

The Essentials Room, which provides clothing, household items, and other necessities, was closed while it was take-out meals only, but reopened when the clubhouse did in mid-June. However, the hours have changed, and it is only open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., partly for cleaning and partly because there are not enough volunteers at the moment. “We’re going to keep it that way for the time being.”

In addition to the additional staff and PPE, The Equality Project recently received grant funding that has enabled them to purchase new commercial refrigeration and freezer units and a commercial dishwasher. They are also able to purchase a new hot food serving table, and are looking for one that will suit their needs.

“Ours needs a splash guard and they’re hard to find, because everyone is screaming for them. Right now we’re serving to the table, because that’s what WorkSafe has recommended.”

The refrigerator, freezers, and dishwasher came courtesy of funding from Highland Valley Teck. “They’re all commercial standard to replace our old ones, which used a lot of electricity. It was also hard trying to dig deep into the old chest freezers, and these are stand-up freezers, which are much more efficient. We had applied for the funding before COVID-19, so it didn’t come because of that, but it’s very helpful.”

The clubhouse also has two new high speed desktop computers which members can use, courtesy of Interior Savings.

“People come in who are applying for CERB, or who are looking for work, or need something printed out. Our old computers were very old or had quit working, so we did need to have them replaced so that they were available for members to use.”

The shelving in the Essentials Room has recently been upgraded, and there is also a small shop where members can purchase items.

“We take apart a package of toilet paper, and take basic things like shampoo and conditioner, coffee and tea, and package them in smaller containers. People often don’t have room for large containers or the space to be able to buy in bulk, so we find it’s quite beneficial to people. They give us a small amount of money for what they can buy, but if someone really needs it and doesn’t have the money they still get it.”

Henderson says that The Equality Project has recently been approved to be part of a Food Rescue program, which will start in September. “We will be able to get meat and produce; all kinds of foods that will be available to be given away and to be used to cook our meals.

“We’ll probably be putting a call out to people in Cache Creek and Ashcroft who are housebound, or too ill to leave their homes, to see if they have needs where maybe someone can bring them some things. We’re looking at doing something like that, because we’d like to make sure the food gets into the hands of the people who need it most. If people are really in need they should contact us.”

None of these services could happen without volunteers, and Henderson says they are always happy to welcome new people who are able to help out. The Equality Project is looking for people who are able to offer assistance in the Essentials Room, with administrative help, or with the Food Rescue program when it starts. Anyone interested in learning more about volunteering, or who needs assistance, can call (250) 457-6485 or email info@theequalityproject.ca.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Cache Creek

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


(from l) Equality Project volunteers Patty McKenzie, Shelley Magwood, Joan Henderson, and Val Freestone with new kitchen equipment purchased with funds donated by Tech Highland Valley, Aug. 25 2020. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

(from l) Equality Project volunteers Patty McKenzie, Shelley Magwood, Joan Henderson, and Val Freestone with new kitchen equipment purchased with funds donated by Tech Highland Valley, Aug. 25 2020. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Just Posted

B.C.’s public health restrictions on non-essential travel are reinforced by orders effective April 23, 2021 to stay within your own regional health authority except for essential travel such as work and medical appointmens. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

Checks on highways, ferries between Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Interior

Kimberley case counts not at the point for 18 years and older community vaccination, says Interior Health. (File photo)
Many factors considered for smaller community-wide vaccination: Interior Health

East Kootenay resort town’s COVID-19 situation not at the point of community-wide vaccination, say officials

The BC Wildfire Service is urging caution amid forecasts of strong winds throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre. (BC Wildfire Service photo)
Strong winds forecasted for Kamloops Fire Centre, BC Wildfire service urges caution

“Wind can cause grass fires to spread very quickly,” says the BC Wildfire Service

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Nic Hume and his fellow paramedic stopped to rescue the victim of an Oak Bay hit-and-run – a duck – at the end of their shift Thursday morning. (Nic Hume/Facebook)
B.C. paramedics don’t duck a chance to help someone in need

Ambulance duo end a long shift by helping a distressed duck in Victoria suburb

As the snow in Manning Park melts, searchers are able to get a little farther each day. Photo submitted
Family resumes search for son missing in B.C.’s Manning park since October

‘This is our child, and we don’t give up on our children,’ said mother of Jordan, Josie Naterer

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canada buys 65M Pfizer booster shots for protection against COVID-19 variants

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the deal with Pfizer includes options to add 30 million doses in both 2022 and 2023, and an option for 60 million doses in 2024

A plan flew over the Lower Mainland with a sign expressing some Canucks fans’ discontent with the team’s general manager. (Niqhil Velji - Twitter Screenshot)
#FireBenning movement gets off the ground in Metro Vancouver

Canucks fans raise enough money to fly banner over Metro Vancouver asking for team GM to be canned

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

Richard Desautel with supporters outside the courthouse in Nelson, B.C., in 2016. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
UPDATED: Sinixt, First Nation bordering Canada-U.S., can claim Indigenous rights, top court rules

The decision essentially reverses a 1956 declaration the Sinixt were extinct

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

Most Read