COVID-19 spurs temporary changes at Kamloops Mustard Seed

Charity changes operations

Kamloops' Mustard Seed is announcing changes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The changes range from new hours of operation to seeking more support workers. In a press release, managing director Mario Borba says times are tense, but that staff are keeping up with "grace, patience and professionalism."

"The Mustard Seed is focused on prioritizing our clients and continuing to serve them. In times like these, our clients need our support more than ever," he says. "These individuals without a home have no way to self-quarantine, we must provide them with a warm and safe space to go."

The changes announced are:

  • The closure of the dental clinic on Victoria Street
  • The closure of the administrative building on Seymour Street
  • The overnight shelter which was due to close March 31 will remain up until the end of June
  • The overnight shelter is also increasing capacity from 24 to 30
  • The outreach centre will be open from noon until 6 p.m., closing for an hour at 3 p.m. to reset and clean the space
  • Additional measures are being taken at the outreach centre to ensure social distancing and customer safety
  • Residents of the men's supportive living centre are being encouraged to limit interactions with outsiders

The organization is also looking for more help.

"We are currently looking for individuals who are able to work as support workers in the outreach centre and overnight in the shelter," Borba says.

While many changes are happening, the spring opening of the revamped Mustard Seed Thrift Store is still scheduled to go forward, though they aren't taking donations at this time.

"I am determined to serve our clients in the face of adversity," Borba says.

In addition to the pandemic, the charity has faced another issue this year – a ransomware attack. No client, donor or financial information was breached. However, the attack did mean the organization's IT system was out of service. Email is once again working, but other systems, like internal files and phone systems are not.

"If you have had difficulties reaching any of us at (Mustard Seed Kamloops) hopefully, this information creates a better understanding," Borba says.

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