AFTER fundraising over the course of the last year, a Nisga’a marching and concert band from the Nass Valley has donated more than $12,000 to support the homeless in Terrace.
The Majagaleehl (Flower of the Nass Valley) Nisga’a band, containing musicians from smaller bands from the four Nisga’a villages in the Nass, presented $10,000 to the Ksan House Society and $2,147 to the Bread of Life Soup Kitchen at the All Nations Centre on Sparks.
“This comes at a really opportune time,” said Delphine Dame from the soup kitchen during the presentations which took place yesterday at the Nisga’a Lisims Government’s Terrace urban local office.
“My husband has had health issues and this is usually our fundraising time, but we just started fund raising,” she explained.
Ksan official Amanda Bains echoed similar appreciation.
“This is an opportune time for us too,” she said. “We just bought a new shelter and have been doing a lot of renovations there.”
The shelter building at 4444 Lazelle Ave. was purchased for $680,000 by Ksan in early August this year.
Extensive renovations followed, and contractors have been working this fall to add a kitchen, showers and laundry facilities and configure space for the shelter’s planned 20 beds.
The building is on the verge of being finished, and Bains said the plan is to open the shelter next week.
Thus far this winter, the shelter has had an average of 12 to 15 people staying nightly at temporary quarters at the Ksan Society’s Hall St. complex on the southside.
Bains says Ksan is planning to keep its new shelter space open all year and that the donation will help support that work.
The Majagaleehl Nisga’a band collected most of the $12,147 through a benefit concert held at George Little Park during Riverboat Days this summer. The rest trickled in as personal donations from Terrace residents.
Majagaleehl director Craig McKay said that concern over the growing homeless population in Terrace started last summer, and the band felt compelled to help.
The band, made of musicians from Gingolx, Laxgalt’sap, Gitwinksihlkw and Gitlaxt’aamiks in the Nass, has held other benefit concerts to support countries suffering in the aftermath of natural disasters. That included concerts for New Orleans, Sri Lanka and Haiti.
McKay says the band felt it was time to support needs closer to home.
“With the significant homeless issue in Terrace, we look to service providers like Ksan and the soup kitchen, who are on the front lines providing services to those in need,” he said.
“Particularly this time of year, it’s important that we look out for people who need a hand.”