These tough economic times are taking their toll on nearly everyone, including those who care for our city’s most vulnerable.
On Thursday, four Lethbridge charities appeared before the City’s Economic and Finance Standing Policy Committee during day-three of their economic review process, to ask for help. Habitat for Humanity, Lethbridge Soup Kitchen, Lethbridge Food Bank and Interfaith Food Bank Society of Lethbridge each came with separate requests.
The Standing Policy Committee (SPC) voted unanimously to recommend City Council approve $150,000 from the municipal reserve, which would be divided equally between the four groups. That would give each non-profit a total of $37,500 per year going forward.
Economic and Finance SPC members agreed that although the economic outlook is grim, it’s important to think about those facing poverty. Councillor Belinda Crowson quoted a psychiatrist who sited that one of the leading causes of mental health issues is poverty.
Mayor Blaine Hyggen stated that when this current operating budget came forward, “we had no idea we’d be in the times that we are….as much as we’d like to do more, this will take it through the next couple of years – put it into budget and hopefully at that time interest rates and inflation are a little more inline with what we’ve budgeted for. At least there’s some relief with this $3,7500.”
Councillor Nick Paladino expressed his concern during these times. “I would encourage everyone to dig deep into your wallets and donate to these causes,” he says.
The Economic and Finance SPC also recommends the $150,000 amount be included in the city’s 2027-2030 operating budget.