The need: How did the Lifeline List Project come about? Who do you help and why?
Over the years, the church office has received many calls for help from local individuals and families in urgent hardship situations, where the need is pressing and no agency is ready or able to give help. These painful occasions led us to organize the Lifeline List Project.
Since 2004, we have been able to assist several hundred local families. And over those years, we have also developed excellent working relationships with compassionate agencies like the Victoria Women’s Transition House and the Cridge Centre for the Family. They know what we do and they sometimes invite us to help the people they serve.
The Lifeline List Project does not provide cash to people in need. We may help with the rent or a damage deposit by writing a cheque to the landlord; we may provide food vouchers when the cupboard is bare; we may pay a phone bill or a hydro bill to keep a vital service available to an impoverished family with children; we may purchase vital medicine which is not covered by any insurance plan. This sort of assistance, on a one-time-only basis, has lifted many local families over a bump in the road which seemed insurmountable to them at the time.
The format: How do you go about assuring claimed needs are genuine?
Several experienced congregation members (all women, because the vast majority of people we help are women) act as “assessors,” visiting face to face with anyone asking for help. The assessors respectfully ask probing questions, keep their eyes open and determine what help, if any, will be provided. Two volunteers keep the confidential records and administer the project. The records are available to board members and the ministers
The terms: What does becoming a sponsor on our Lifeline List involve?
People who volunteer their names for our the Lifeline List are called “sponsors.” They are promised that they will not be called upon more than once a year and they will only be called upon in a specific, urgent situation, which has been confirmed as genuine by an assessment. They will be given what details can be shared while maintaining confidentiality. They will never be asked to contribute more than $200 and they will get a receipt for tax purposes. Finally, they can have their name taken off the Lifeline List at any time, with a simple phone call to the list administrator.
Advantages: How has it worked?
Before this project was launched, it was reviewed and approved by our congregation’s Social Responsibility Coalition and by the Board. For more than 14 years now it has proved to be remarkably practical and successful. The Lifeline List has allowed our faith community to respond to urgent local needs swiftly and collectively. We currently have 68 sponsors supporting this project. If becoming one of the sponsors of our Lifeline List appeals to you, or if you have questions or comments, please phone the office (250-744-2665), leave your name and phone number and one of the project administrators will call you.
The Ethel May Trust Fund
This fund is a trust, set up in 2005 by a generous member of our community in honour of his late mother. It is administered by three church-member trustees and works in close co-operation with the Lifeline List in helping where the financial need is greater than the Lifeline Project is able to cover.