Local agencies exist to rescue small dogs, encourage people to grow their own vegetables, help their neighbours conquer social problems and support the mentally ill.
But at some point, these groups also need help.
In times of economic struggle they turn to local governments like the Regional District of Central Okanagan with appeals for grants.
Grant requests this year totalled $375,768.
The largest requests include more than $55,000 for the John Howard Society, $40,000 for Project Literacy Kelowna Society, $36,000 for New Opportunities for Women and $35,000 for Central Okanagan Community Gardens.
John Manolakos, adult restorative justice coordinator with the John Howard Society, said the referrals from their program increased by 53 per cent last year.
The program provides an alternative to court for adults charged with minor first-time offences.
“It’s clear the community has a need, and we are rising to meet that need.”
New Opportunities for Women provides support and shelter for women who have experienced sexual exploitation, or have addictions or mental health challenges.
Many of the organizations are facing cutbacks from other funding sources, or increased demand on their services.
Kelowna Art Gallery executive director Nataley Nagy said the gallery’s school tour program depends on grant support.
“Without the support of the regional district, none of these young people, we feel, would have the exposure to the visual arts they currently receive at their school.”
The gallery gauged how many families return with their children once the kids had visited with their school, and found not many visiting kids returned with their parents.
“It is definitely an investment in the future.”
Final approval of grants takes place with the adoption of the regional district budget, slated for March. 25.