It might seem easy to casually say September is here, and things are getting back to normal.
School is back in session, minimum wage went up to $11.35 an hour – $10.10 for servers – and the provincial state of emergency relating to B.C.’s wildfires officially expired Friday.
But for many people, “normal” does not aptly describe the state of life right now.
Some students with disabilities in B.C. schools will continue to lack the extra attention they need to thrive in a learning environment where there are more teachers, but classrooms are just as large in some cases.
People with little left over at the end of the month after paying their rent, in a Greater Victoria housing market slanted to favour landlords, will still have to scrimp and cut out the extras to afford groceries.
And those affected most drastically by the Interior wildfires remain months or even years away from getting back to some semblance of a regular routine.
So what can we do here at home to make an impact on those who need our help the most?
There are many ways to reach out, including contributing to United Way Greater Victoria, which launched its annual workplace giving campaign on Monday, in combination with the announcement that phone, texting and online referral services are available through BC211.
By funding local service providers, United Way helps people in all walks of life, sometimes even our neighbours without us knowing. Programs for youth, people in poverty, those battling addiction and/or mental illness and more are paid for with donors’ dollars.
And thanks to the availability of regional service directories on BC211.ca since this past June, families and individuals affected by wildfires had a valuable resource to find information on evacuations, emergency shelters and other services.
So, there are ways to help those who find themselves in dire circumstances. If you’re looking for a good one, try checking out BC211.ca or uwgv.ca.