“When you think about TELUS, what comes to mind? Phone services, Internet, maybe the giant groups of people wearing purple you see volunteering all over town throughout the year?

I think of all of that and so much more. I think of a reason, a season and a lifetime…

What is our reason? Mamas For Mamas was the first registered Canadian charity born on social media, so we are aware of both the light and the dark side of the Internet. As a result, we are passionately dedicated to making sure we are raising responsible digital citizens, and really couldn’t do it without free TELUS Wise tools, tips and workshops.

I think about our dream to plant a farm to help provide sustainable food security to families in need, and I reflect back on TELUS stepping up to make sure that became our reality in 2017. Not only did they show up in force to prepare and plant our plot, they paid for and installed our irrigation AND presented us with a cheque to help us keep the farm going for the season. This is our season.

Mamas has recently started working with foster kids to make sure they have what they need when moving from home to home. One of the hugest issues we have encountered is how to support children who are aging out of the foster care system; when aging out luckily we have friends and partners like TELUS who have thought about that already. TELUS Mobility for Good is a program for youth aging out of care that provides them with a free smartphone complete with a plan that allows texting, calling, and data; but that’s not even the most exciting part, not to me anyway! One of the most exciting parts about Mobility for Good is that these kids get a phone bill every month with a zero balance, so they can start to build credit for their future. This right here is a hand up not a hand out, and this is only one of the programs offered by TELUS that truly changes the lives and futures of the clients we have the privilege of serving. At Mamas, we like to approach problem-solving from the lens of a mother rather than an agency, and it’s clear that TELUS does the same through these social purpose initiatives.

Beyond the benefits of raising digital citizens, we help our mama’s navigate the ever-changing world of a baby’s development through the TELUS Baby Health app which allows new parents to keep all their newborn’s health information in one place creating a digital personal health record that is available at their fingertips whenever they need it. Managing your health is so important, and that’s why TELUS has also launched the Babylon by TELUS Health virtual care app, which is a fast, convenient and free way to get access to health information and care, which is particularly helpful for busy Mamas while at home or on the go. Any Mama can use the app to check symptoms, and in BC there’s an added feature to connect virtually to a local doctor within minutes and the appointment is covered through the provincial MSP. This is support for a lifetime… thank you TELUS, for being the change we need to see in the world. For being our reason, our season and part of Mamas for our lifetime.”

Mamas for Mamas is a national charitable organization that supports mothers and caregivers in crisis by providing ongoing support to individuals and families facing various poverty-related struggles. Our mission is to change the landscape of poverty through innovative approaches to financial barriers faced by struggling families. We envision a future where no Mama or child is left behind. The most recent statistics from Citizens for Public Justice reports that a staggering 5.8 million people in Canada (or 16.8%) live in poverty ( https://cpj.ca/poverty-trends-2018/). We are committed to giving a hand up, not just a hand out to those struggling by providing them with essential needs. We are actively engaging with multiple levels of government and non-profit agencies; together we are working to change the systems that contribute to the vicious cycle of poverty, mental health issues, housing, and food insecurity and have recently expanded digitally across Canada. We provide a space where our Mamas and their kids feel safe and comfortable when they come in for poverty relief support. We refer to all existing community programs when available and fill the gaps in service when the need is higher than the resources available. Unfortunately, this is often the case, as evidenced by the need for our rapid program development. At the head office in Kelowna, BC, we offer a beautiful Karma Market where struggling families can access anything they need at no cost; the only currency we request is, kindness to your fellow neighbor. In our free store, we provide clothing, shoes, seasonal wear, and through our intake process Mamas can also access formula, diapers, baby furniture, and gear. We also offer individualized help navigating the available resources for food security, affordable housing, education, and access to our in-house mental health team where counselling is available at no cost for those who qualify. Community-based sharing economies are available for families not in Kelowna, with a resource coordinator available for preventative and intervention based poverty relief. It’s hard enough being a parent without the stress of clothing or food insecurity, lack of appropriate mental health care, and everything else that can easily fall through the cracks in our busy society. Mamas for Mamas is there for those parents who need help navigating eligible resources, applying for social supports, and getting direct intake support while joining this Mamas community that genuinely looks after each other. ( https://cpj.ca/poverty-trends-2018/ )

Other Side of Homelesness

To understand how a mom with a newborn and a toddler can end up living in their car in Canada, we must first re-examine our perception of poverty and the metrics that define it. Our current system does not accurately reflect the cost of living per capita when determining poverty cut-off lines, leaving thousands of caregivers at a disadvantage. Their income might appear adequate when compared to a national average, but in reality, it falls short of meeting their needs.

Addressing homelessness among caregivers and their children involves tackling both relative and absolute homelessness. Relative homelessness refers to those living in inadequate housing conditions, while absolute homelessness involves individuals lacking any form of shelter. Homelessness is more than just a lack of shelter—it's an obstacle to health, stability, and opportunity. Our campaign is committed to creating sustainable solutions that provide not only housing but also the necessary support systems to help families thrive.

By emphasizing advocacy, community engagement, and strategic partnerships, we aim to build a future where every caregiver and child has a safe and stable place to call home.
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