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Wetaskiwin Co-op celebrates 100 years by supporting schools

A Wetaskiwin Co-op program is boosting local schools. - Amelia Naismith
A Wetaskiwin Co-op program is boosting local schools.
— image credit: Amelia Naismith

A new school equity program unique to the Wetaskiwin Co-op is gathering funds for schools in the County of Wetaskiwin.

Wetaskiwin Co-op marketing co-ordinator Sam McDowell says a goal of the program is to even out what is being given to schools in the county, as she could see some schools taking advantage of the co-op’s programs while others were not.

“Education of all kids is extremely important,” said McDowell.

Co-op operates a member co-operative equity program; at the end of every year the board of directors calculates an equity allocation. Earnings from the co-op are distributed to members based on their purchases during the year. Earnings are returned to members as a cash percentage, determined annually by the board of directors. “It’s about $2 million per year in cash,” said McDowell.

With the school equity program 100 per cent will be given back to the schools.

“We’re trying to figure out how to reach kids,” said McDowell.

The initial idea for the program was to help fund hot breakfast and lunch programs. However, McDowell says there are other aspects of the schools that could benefit from a bit of extra funding.

“It’s our 100th anniversary and we wanted to see how we could give more back to the community,” said McDowell.

“We live for the concept, ‘be local,’” she added.

Each school will be provided a co-op membership number, and when a member or non-member shops at the co-op the can make a transaction donation to the school of their choice.

Within the county, 16 Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools are signed up to participate. McDowell says co-op is in the process of creating the program for St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic schools in the division.

The school equity program will not apply at co-op cardlocks and charge accounts.

“It’s a fantastic way to give back,” said McDowell.

 

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