|Chris Brandon, left, pictured with his partner Leigha Beltrame, holds his infant son Kyden in the couple's Kelowna apartment.|
but it helped them avoid a life on the streets.
When their money ran low and they had to leave their rented accommodation, Leigha Beltrame and Chris Brandon didn't know where to turn. After approaching the food bank for groceries, they also found out about the Inn from the Cold program, which provides shelter from November through March for people who might otherwise be homeless in the winter.
"We were able to stay with Inn from the Cold for a couple weeks," said Beltrame, 26. "It was a big help for us, until we were able to get on income
assistance and find another place to rent."
Beltrame and Brandon moved to Kelowna from a small town in northern Ontario. "It was the kind of place that was basically eight-and-a-half hours from anywhere," Brandon says.
But finding steady work in Kelowna has been a challenge, and the couple continue to draw on the assistance of the food bank once a month.
"Having a constant source of good food helps us to stay healthy and strong, so we can get through this downtime," says Brandon, 24. "The food bank has been awesome for our family."
Particularly helpful is the food bank's Tiny Bundles program, which provides diapers, wipes and other baby supplies for Beltrame's four-month-old son Kyden.
"The cost of these things really adds up, and it's a great help to get them in the Tiny Bundles package," Beltrame said.
Looking to the future, Beltrame is considering
entering a trades training course offered by Okanagan College in the new year.
"I did a lot of general construction work back in Ontario and Calgary," she says. "I like the physical work, and you can make pretty good money if you can get a trade."