Red Cross program helps Princeton not-for-profit repair flood-damaged building

By: Rajnesh Sharma, Canadian Red Cross
Last November, the flood left the Princeton Family Services Society scrambling to relocate to another building. Now, nine months later, this not-for-profit organization is still hoping to return to their building one day.

“We lost our building, and our insurance didn’t cover it because it was an overland flood,” says Jenny Pedwell, executive director of the Princeton Family Services Society.
A woman in a yellow shirt leaning against a white wall with a sign that says: Princeton Family Services Society
Jenny Pedwell, executive director of the Princeton Family Services Society, is grateful for the financial support received through the Support to Small Businesses and Not-for-Profits Program. (August, 2022)

On the morning of November 15, 2021, Jenny remembers walking into the building to see the aftermath of the flood. Overnight, approximately three feet of water had rushed into their two-storey building destroying the pantry, desks, heating system, appliances, and much more.

Eventually, the bottom half of the drywall had to be removed and the flooring had to be taken out, explains Jenny.

About two weeks after the flooding, volunteers helped to move all the salvaged items from the damaged building into another location.

“We had to very quickly find another space to move into so that we could still continue to provide the counselling and support for people,” recalls Jenny.

For 45 years, this organization has been providing family programs and counselling to children and families who have experienced trauma. Fortunately, despite the flooding, the organization continued to run all programs and services except for the Family Place program that required a drop-in location.

After properly setting up a welcoming space for families, the Family Place program was also able to resume operation after being paused for about four weeks after the flood. Although the Princeton Family Services Society did not lose any funding for their programs, the cost of repairing their building has been a stressor.

“The loss of building and then rebuilding is a huge cost to us,” emphasizes Jenny, adding it will cost about $70,000 to repair. “Help from Red Cross has really helped...that bit of money is going to go towards our repair cost (for the building)."

After hearing about the Canadian Red Cross’ Support to Small Businesses and Not-for-Profits Program, Jenny decided to apply for the financial assistance.

“It probably didn't even take 10 minutes to fill out the application,” says Jenny, adding the process was “really easy.”

Jenny expresses she was “quite happy” and “grateful” to have received the financial assistance from the Red Cross. It has helped to ease the stress a bit.

“That's another $5,000 that we don't have to take out of funding somewhere,” explains the executive director.

Besides being thankful for the support, Jenny appreciates how the Red Cross is continuing to recognize the financial needs of not-for-profit organizations long after the flood.

Small business owners and not-for-profit organizations impacted by flooding in British Columbia can apply to the Small Businesses and Not-for-Profits Program until November 30, 2022.

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