Giving with a smile. Income $7510 (Last year $4600+)
Food: 350 pounds (about doubled from last year).
Driving through Wetaskiwin on Highway 2A early in the afternoon of December 1st, it was evident by all the red and blue flashing lights that something unusual was happening on the highway south of Pioneer Chrysler. Vehicles were being stopped on the highway while some were re-routed to a side street.
Each year, the RCMP, City police and By-law officers and EMS and a team of other volunteers conduct the Candy Cane Check Stop in support of local charities, Victim Services and the Salvation Army Food Bank. Once the drivers realize they are not being stopped for an infraction, they are invited to make a donation to the Victim Services and the Salvation Army Food Bank. Generous residents donated an amazing $7392.00….. and that is without the nickels, dimes and pennies that are being counted at press time.
The Check Stop was a reminder to not drink and drive
This was a real Check Stop conducted by the Officers but what made it different was the real intent wasn’t to catch drunk drivers on December 1st but to remind people not to drink and drive during the upcoming festive season.
Jeannie Blakely, Victim Services, describes the importance of the Charity Check Stop
Donations made to Victim Services and the Salvation Army Food Bank will, “help us assist people in need during the Christmas season. Many people are struggling with added pressures. There are some who may not be able to supply their family with an adequate meal. Others are in the midst of personal problems such as abuse or a divorce. Some may have lost a family member or friend or were part of an accident or tragedy. The money we are raising today goes directly into helping these people get through the holiday season.”
He didn’t have money with him but came back with $100
It was a chilly, windy afternoon that gradually ate through layers of warm clothing but the volunteers were continually warmed by the generosity as car-after-car stopped and the driver dropped money into the collection cans, donated unwrapped gifts or donated food to the food bank. Dan DeWolf, Chair of Victim Services was delighted with the generosity shown by the people. “One gentleman came through the line and said he was sorry but he didn’t have any money with him but would be back. Not only did he come back through the line-up for a second time but he put $100 into the collection can.”
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. Standing by to help in Wetaskiwin is Victim Services and the Salvation Army Food Bank. Victim Services is a society 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.
Jeannie Blakely, Executive Director of Victim Services is grateful for the donations that the drivers so generously offered at the end of the Check Stop. “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. And, a very special thank you to the law enforcement officers, EMS and community volunteers who braved the cold to help make this such a success.”
For more information, to volunteer or to make a donation to Victim Services phone (780) 312-7287 or visit them in the RCMP building.