The Mustard Seed is expanding its ministry to Red Deer and we are excited about the opportunity.
Recently the Board of Directors of the Loaves and Fishes Benevolent Society in Red Deer generously decided to transfer its assets to The Mustard Seed once the charity dissolves on June 30, 2016. And while we are saddened by their decision to dissolve the 20-year ministry due to financial constraints, we are grateful and humbled by the trust they have put in us.
According to the Canada Revenue Agency’s Dissolution Guidelines, assets from a dissolved charity “should be dispersed to a charity with a similar set of objectives as the organization that is dissolving.” Since The Mustard Seed is also a faith-based organization with a strong mission and vision, the Loaves and Fishes chose to transfer its assets to us.
In the days ahead, we will be working with the Loaves and Fishes Benevolent Society to better understand the programs and services they offer and to determine the best way to move forward. We know for sure, however, that the School Lunch Program will continue – whether by partnering with another agency or by running it ourselves. The program provides lunches to more than 300 children who might otherwise not have a nutritious meal at mid-day.
Over the next few months, The Mustard Seed will conduct a needs assessment to determine how we can best serve the Red Deer community and where there might be gaps in programs and services for men and women who are desperately in need of assistance due to poverty and/or homelessness.
“We will be talking with government representatives, community leaders, human service agencies, churches and other stakeholders,” says Stephen Wile, Chief Executive Officer of The Mustard Seed. “Our goal is to operate in some capacity by September – to come alongside the good work that is already being done and help those who need it most.”
Read Mr. Wile’s Letter to the Editor, published in the Red Deer Advocate on June 7, here.
Executive members of The Mustard Seed have already met with government officials and we look forward to working with Mayor Tara Veer and her staff in an effort to meet the needs of Red Deer citizens, and not to duplicate programs and services that are currently in place.
As explained in a recent Red Deer Advocate article, The Mustard Seed will continue to rent out the basement of the Loaves and Fishes building at 6002 54th Avenue to the Safe Harbour Society, where it runs a 35-person emergency shelter program, until another suitable location can be found.
For more than 31 years, The Mustard Seed has been building community, growing hope and supporting change for men and women experiencing poverty and homelessness in both Calgary and Edmonton. It will be a privilege to work with the people of Red Deer to extend the same unconditional love and compassion within the community.
If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to be part of our needs assessment process, please email [email protected] and include “Red Deer Needs Assessment” in the subject line.