November is Financial Literacy Month and according to the Financial Literacy Consumer Agency of Canada, "Financial Literacy Month provides the opportunity to highlight the efforts of the many organizations across the country who work tirelessly throughout the year to strengthen financial literacy and improve outcomes for consumers in Canada.” 

One of those hardworking organizations is the Cochrane Resource Network and considering that residents are facing the highest inflation in 40 years, they have their work cut out for them.  

What does financial literacy mean? It is a goal to help people build financial resilience by managing money and debt wisely.  

The 2022 Literacy Month campaign theme is Make Change that Counts: Managing Your Money in a Changing World.  

Wendy Farnsworth the Coordinator for Family Resource Network Cochrane and Area says, “The Network supports families with children ages 0-18 and for anybody who has adult children or no children, then they would go to FCSS.” However, both organizations run similar programming for people needing financial resources. For example, connecting residents with the local food bank but typically the need for help goes deeper than receiving a hamper, Farnsworth says, “Our resource workers are able to talk to people about budgeting, debt repayment, banking, credit, increasing their assets.” That does not mean monetary assets but personal assets, what an individual brings to the table like a social network and attributes which maintain a job.  

The Family Resource Network can connect people with numerous resources within the community like the Activettes Food Bank or the Jacket Racket that recently took place that helped people get warm winter clothing at no cost. 

There is the Cochrane Connect Card which provides eligible families and individuals with a discount on community services and with local participating businesses such as a Colt bus pass, library card, and SLS Family Sports Centre memberships. 

For seniors, there is property tax support and a free income tax filing program. 

FRN offers information on daycare subsidies and recreational subsidies, housing options, and education options.  

There are resources that FRN can help residents connect with that are not locally based. A good example is Money Mentors, a partner which can help people with debt repayment. Farnsworth says they offer options “Anywhere from bankruptcy to a consumer proposal. Money Mentors is a fabulous not-for-profit in Alberta that can help people out with that.” 

Asking for help is difficult but there is support. Farnsworth says, “I want to let everybody know that our staff is non-judgmental, and they are very good at supportive conversations. We also understand that this can be challenging and a lot of us have been there. We're finding it financially difficult out there too when grocery prices have doubled and affordable housing is hard to find, so we get so we work together as a community.” 

If there is any aspect of your life that you are having difficulty with, FRN can provide a listening ear they are free, private, and confidential and that is what they are here for, to help.