COVID-19: SOS suspends most programs, keeps some essential services going

Thrift store and community services building closed until further notice

By Lissa Alexander

Society of Organized Services (SOS) will offer some essential services for Parksville Qualicum Beach residents, but the SOS Thrift Shop and Community Services Centres are closed and most programs are suspended for now.

“We have had to make some difficult decisions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said SOS executive director Susanna Newton. “We know this is a very difficult time for residents and we are doing the best we can to continue to meet needs despite the circumstances.”

SOS will continue offering Meals on Wheels, and both the Emergency Assistance & Advocacy program, as well as the Seniors Advocacy Services, will continue by phone only. SOS is continuing to assist Ministry clients with their report cards using a drop-off, pick-up service. The Homeless Prevention program will continue support for existing clients. All child, youth and family programs, and all other programs and services, are suspended.

READ MORE: Island Health isn’t sharing locations of COVID-19 cases for privacy reasons

SOS Thrift Shop will not be accepting donations, and SOS is asking donors to please hold on to their items and bring them in when they are able to reopen.

“The Thrift Shop is our main source of funding, so we are really cutting off our lifeline by having to close it,” Newton said. “Without regular funds coming in, it’s hard to say how long we will be able to provide these essential services. We know many of our residents don’t have savings to fall back on, so we can expect to see an increase in adults, families and seniors accessing our Emergency Assistance and Advocacy program, in order to have their basic needs met.”

Emergency Assistance & Advocacy may be able to assist local residents in financial emergencies such as help with groceries and medicine.

SOS will monitor guidelines from provincial and federal governments, and will reassess the situation on March 31. Until that time, staff will continue to maintain contact with senior clients to help them navigate these difficult times. Staff will also be answering phones to provide information and support to residents.

To make a donation, visit the SOS website at www.sosd69.com or call 250-248-2093.

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