By: Craig Lester
When someone or a group of people needs help, there is a village that jumps in and supports them. One of the ongoing great examples of this is the Salvation Army and how it helps less privileged people every day. In any given month, the non-profit in Smithers helps feed between 300 and 500 people through its food bank. Lieutenant Rick Apperson says it’s a tall order to fill but is made easier by donations from the community.
One of the donations is from the Bulkley Valley Credit Union (BVCU), which donates the meat from a steer they buy from a local 4-H participant at the annual Fall Fair at the end of August every year. Apperson says this donation goes a long way to help feed those in need. The meat from one steer is enough to stock the freezer at the food bank for a few months.
“When we get a humongous donation from the Credit Union, that just alleviates our budget so that we can fill the gaps elsewhere,” Apperson says. He adds it is a huge thing when they receive a donation like that, as it helps them be better stewards of the resources that are given to them by the community.
Every year, youth from across the Bulkley Valley and Lakes District participate in 4-H. 4-H stands for head, heart, hands and health and is open to anyone between the age of 6 and 21. It encourages youth development through knowledge, leadership, citizenship and personal development. Youth grow their skills through project and program work as well as experiences with 4-H Club members and leaders. The local kids are part of a community that spans the region, province, nation, and world.
Many kids choose to raise livestock as part of their yearly project. For these youth, the year comes to an end with the sale of the calves at the Bulkley Valley Exhibition at the end of August. The youth go around to various businesses and individuals and share brochures and information about their steer projects in an effort to sell them, gaining valuable skills in the process. The animals are then auctioned off at the fair to the highest bidders. An event the BVCU has taken part in for many years. Board Chair Tom Havard says they always do their best to support the 4-H kids that come into the branches, whether it is in Smithers or Burns Lake. As a community-minded institution, Havard says it is a win for everyone. “Our members win because they are helping the community, 4-H wins because it keeps the process moving and we help those less fortunate by helping provide good nutrition,” Havard says.
On top of donating a majority of the beef, the Credit Union takes it a step further, auctioning off the beef that can’t be given to the food bank to its staff and board members, with the cash proceeds going to the Salvation Army. Havard says 4-H is a wonderful organization that allows the kids to grow in so many ways and the partnerships formed between the Salvation Army, 4-H, Fall Fair and BVCU is exactly what BVCU is all about. People helping people.
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