British Columbia Church Boosts Seniors Housing Project

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Members of Terrace (British Columbia) Christian Reformed Church have been instrumental in completing an affordable housing project for low-income seniors in their small community, expanding an existing complex from 18 to 23 units.

Not only did the church’s Sunday school children raise almost $400 for the project—enough to pay for all the nails in the new building—but church member John VandeVelde volunteered his time as construction manager.

The project was in danger of being delayed when funding from the province’s housing agency fell through. VandeVelde is credited with organizing donations of reduced-cost services from local tradespeople. “He is an amazing man, and this project really would not have gotten off the ground nor been completed if it wasn’t for his commitment and dedication,” said Anita Struyk, the church’s Sunday school coordinator.

VandeVelde downplayed his role. “I wanted to do a service project in my home area, and then this opportunity came up so I signed on,” he said.

Volunteers from Terrace CRC, as well as other local churches, also provided a significant amount of free labor. The project came in ahead of schedule and under budget.

Struyk explained that the Sunday school children raised their funds through their weekly Sunday collection. “It’s important for kids to raise money for causes that are meaningful and ‘real’ to them,” she said. “The great thing about this one was that we could make two field trips to the site, one during construction and one when the building was complete. I had never done a Sunday school field trip before, but the building is only a couple of blocks from the church so it was easy to do.”

When the children were asked why they wanted to help with this project, they responded, “The houses are for old people who don’t have any. We did this because we are Christians and we want to help people.”

About the Author

Tracey Yan is the Banner's regional news correspondent for classes British Columbia North-west and British Columbia South-east.

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