Normally, driving up to four lanes of police and emergency lights flashing would be cause for concern. But on the stretch of Hwy #2A snaking through Wetaskiwin Dec. 10 it will mean lots of help for struggling local residents.
That day, the seventh annual Charity Checkstop to benefit Wetaskiwin Victim Services and Secret Santa will take place on the four lane stretch of road going past the Super 8 Hotel from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Wetaskiwin Victim Services executive director Petra Pfeiffer said the charity checkstop has been popular in the community for seven years now. “We had huge success,” said Pfeiffer by phone Nov. 23. “It’s a huge event that we have every year.”
The charity checkstop is rather simple in form: motorists drive up to the checkstop and see all the police and emergency lights flashing, two volunteers will greet motorists, they’ll have two pails (one full of candy canes for donors along with an info card from Students Against Drunk Driving, one for cash donations) and motorists will also have a chance to donate non-perishable food items and toys for the Secret Santa program.
All cash donations go to support Wetaskiwin Victim Services and its programs in the community. Pfeiffer said there is no minimum donation. “We’re thankful for anything,” she said. Victim services board members; advocates and friends are all at the charity checkstop helping out.
Secret Santa is handled by the city’s FCSS department. According to the city’s website, “FCSS is proud to be a partner is the Wetaskiwin Secret Santa campaign. A community coming together is what Secret Santa is all about. Over the years, individuals, organizations and businesses throughout Wetaskiwin and area have always come through for those in our community that could use a helping hand during the Christmas season.
“Wetaskiwin Secret Santa provides families with a Christmas dinner voucher and toys for children ranging from infant to age 16. Applications must be made in person and a proof of current residential address and Alberta Health Care Cards for all children must be presented at the time of the application. Applicant must live in the City of Wetaskiwin or the County of Wetaskiwin, within the boundary from Highway 2 East to the Camrose County line.
“For information on when and where applications are accepted or to find out how to donate to Wetaskiwin Secret Santa, contact us at 780-361-4425 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
There’s a welcome wagon on site to help volunteers deal with the cold, offering snacks, hot chocolates and coffee.
Pfeiffer said the charity checkstop will be set up so motorists can use one lane for stopping to donate, while one lane will always be left open for those who decline. Some planning still remains to be done, though.
Generous local residents can also drop off food and toy donations at the Super 8 Hotel beforehand if they’re not going to be in town Dec. 10.
Pfeiffer said organizers are grateful for the strong support shown for this event year after year from the businesses like Super 8 who pitch in to donors and volunteers. “I’d like to thank the people from Wetaskiwin and area for the support they’ve given our unit,” she said.
“I’ve found the people of Wetaskiwin and area are very generous.”
The event will run regardless of weather.