The City of Campbell River thanks local fish farms for their donations to specialized recreation.
Thanks local fish farms
Grieg Seafood has sponsored programs for adults and youth with disabilities for the past seven or eight years.
“They agreed, but Cermaq decided they want to do more. So, they give a little bit more,” said Deb Simpson, a Specialized Recreation Programmer who normally operates out of the Campbell River Community Centre.
These corporate donations were all “under $2,000.”
The only other donation Simpson mentioned was “a healthy snack and drinks for our After School program for youth with disabilities or special needs” provided by Thrifty Foods.
Cermaq, MOWI and Grieg Seafood
This is not the first time that donations from these fish farm companies have made the news. Shorty after the pandemic began, Cermaq Canada and Grieg Seafood BC donated 60,000 pounds of salmon to Food Banks Canada. Mowi Canada West responded by delivering 1,000 pounds of Atlantic salmon to food banks in Campbell River and Port Hardy.
The Campbell River Business Recovery Task Force identified fish farms as one of the three key first dollar industries on which Campbell River’s economy depends.
Cermaq, MOWI and Grieg Seafood bring roughly $150 million a year into Campbell River and the surrounding area through wages and purchases from supporting businesses.
Specialized Recreation programs
Simpson said their donations definitely help.
Some of the ways they raised funding in previous years, like selling concessions at large events in the Community Centre, were not available in a pandemic.
“So this year, we’ve decided to charge a little bit. In the past, programs have either been low cost or free,” explained Simpson.
She added that there is still a program to help low income adults with disabilities.
“They can apply though the LIFE (Leisure Involvement For Everyone) program for assistance, which gets them 52 ‘drop in’ programs a year. As well, if it is a registered program which costs a big chunk of money, they can get three of those programs at 50% off.”
After it became impossible to meet in person, Campbell River’s specialized recreation programs turned to ZOOM. They started with a chatroom, then moved on to dance and another movement program.
Simpson says their most popular program is ‘singing for fun’:
“At the height of COVID, when people were locked down, John Hollywood and I would help him ZOOM to our participants at home. Since things started back up in September, that program was one that stayed both live, in person, and on ZOOM.”
She added, “Our Monday evening social program is also really popular. We started that on Zoom. It is a bit different because this often used to involve meals, which is not possible during COVID times.”
Hundreds of thousands of dollars a year
Linda Sams, Sustainable Development Director for Cermaq Canada, said, “We actively support the communities in which we live and work through hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in community sponsorships and in-kind funding for projects, programs or initiatives, and we know communities and society are made stronger by diversity and inclusion. The programs offered by the specialized recreation program are a wonderful example of providing opportunity for social and community connection, which as we know, is more important than ever during this pandemic.”
Simpson mentioned a number of individual stories.
She normally discontinues programs over the summer, but one of the participants in ‘Coffee and Connections’ decided it was too valuable to set aside. Alexis Samaroden took over the ZOOM event and still plays a leadership role now that the program has returned to ‘in person’ meetings.
“He’ll take the attendance. He’ll make sure the conversation keeps going and more quiet folks have an opportunity to talk,” said Simpson.
She mentioned a ‘non-verbal autistic’ person, who holds his ear right up to the computer screen during ZOOM meetings because ‘he wants to hear and be involved.’
“He doesn’t talk, but knows almost all the words to all the songs that we sing. He is especially marvellous when he sings “If I had a million dollars by the Bare Naked Ladies. He has our Canadian content down pat,” said Simpson.
A weekly ‘walking and talking program’ is led by a young woman in a wheelchair.
Links of Interest
- (Campbell River.ca) Community Centre
- (Cortes Currents) articles about the city of Campbell River
- (Cortes Currents) phasing out one of Campbell River’s three pillars
- (Cortes Currents) articles about Cermaq Canada West
- (Cortes Currents) articles about Grieg Seafood BC
- (Cortes Currents) articles about MOWI
This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative.