Jeannie Blakely Executive Director, Victim Services; Linda Ortlauf, Food Bank Coordinator; Cpl. Karyn Kay; Rhonda Stoneouse will be part of the Check Stop, December 1st
On December 1st, 2012 there will be flashing blue and red lights where a dozen RCMP and other Officers will be directing vehicles off Highway 2A onto a side street south of Pioneer Chrysler. An Officer approaches the car, the window goes down, the officer leans towards the open window and the driver is asked if they have been drinking. It is the holiday season and it is a Check Stop and a reminder of ‘Don’t drink and drive.’
You are in the warmth of your car and the Officers are out in the street battling the cold. You might expect them to be a little abrupt, demanding and perhaps even somewhat annoyed that you are able to be in the warm comfort of your vehicle while they are doing their duty out in the cold. But instead when you pass the sniff test and (no) drinking question they smile, hand you a treat and direct you to the Candy Cane Check Stop lanes and encourage you to make a donation to the local charities, Victim Services and the Salvation Army Food Bank. The 2011 Charity Check Stop raised raised $4,462 for Victim Services and the Salvation Army received 484 pounds of food along with toys for Secret Santa.
Jeannie Blakely, Executive Director of Victim Services reflects that, “Each year a dozen or more RCMP, By-Law and other officers, Fire Department and ETS are happy to help out with the Candy Cane Check Stop.”
Make no mistake. This is a real Check Stop but what makes it different is that the intent is to remind people to not drink and drive during the upcoming festive season and to enable drivers to make a donation to Victim Services and the Salvation Army Food Bank. Jeannie describes. “Their contributions are so important with helping us assist people in need whether it be victims’ of crime or a tragedy or people that desperately need the food they get from the Salvation Army to get through the Christmas season. We call this a friendly Check Stop.”
Although Christmas holiday season is meant to be a happy and joyful time, this isn't necessarily how everyone feels at this time of the year. Christmas can be extremely stressful and depressing for many people. There are tragedies leading up to and during the holiday season and the pressures can also lead to victim abuse. Every year many people find added financial and time pressures, isolation from family and friends, loss of family and friends, separation and divorce. Some reflect on another year gone and not being able to supply their family with an adequate meal. These are all very difficult to manage.
Standing by to help when a need arises in Wetaskiwin is Victim Services and the Salvation Army Food Bank. Victim Services is comprised of the Wetaskiwin Municipal RCMP and Rural RCMP, in partnership with the Wetaskiwin and District Victim Services Society. That is why the law enforcement officers as part of their Check Stop, partnered with Victim Services and the Salvation Army Food Bank to help raise funds for those in need.
For more information, to volunteer or to make a donation to Victim Services phone (780) 312-7287 or visit them in the RCMP building.