Neighborhood Place, haven

A thank you to Ponoka News for the recent article on the crowd funding campaign by Ponoka Neighborhood Place.

Dear Editor:

A thank you to Ponoka News for the recent article on the crowd funding campaign by Ponoka Neighborhood Place.

Our association is so much more than just a place to get free faxing and photo copies. Only 20 per cent of the people through our doors just need copies; the other 80 per cent are here looking for help to maintain a basic quality of life. These people are unemployed or underemployed, homeless or at risk of homelessness. They are on income support or AISH (Assured Income of the Severely Handicapped) and have difficulty communicating their needs to the government offices in Wetaskiwin or Red Deer.

They are women trying to escape abusive relationships or are single moms in need of counselling who need to be linked with the women’s shelter or women’s outreach. They are immigrants brought into our community as foreign workers who need help with their permanent residence applications or to contact the Immigration and Settlement Service or the Immigrant Women’s Society in Red Deer. They are people who need to apply for housing subsidy or to complete an application for Canada Pension. They are people needing Catholic Social Services who have a full-time office here; they are clients of Employment Placement and Support Services who has an office here; they are members of Al Anon who meet here every week. These are the people that Neighborhood Place helps every day we are open.

As executive director I have lived in this community for 15 years and am committed to the people in Ponoka and area but this was never about me and a salary obtained by fund raising. It is about all the people who live here who fall through the cracks. Unfortunately, many of the influential people in town who could help seem to be unaware there is a population out there not as fortunate as them, which has made the work of Neighborhood Place a shadowy, non-public operation just going about the business of helping others.

Keith Williams

executive director,

Ponoka Neighborhood Place Association