Efforts underway to help poor people in Stettler

Efforts are underway in Stettler to create a fund to help those struggling to make ends meet or even pay for critical medications.

Efforts are underway in Stettler to create a fund to help those struggling to make ends meet or even pay for critical medications.

The emergency fund will meet a community need that many residents in the town of 5,500 don’t even know exists, said Shelly Potter, an employment counsellor with Stettler Family and Community Support Services.

“People think that we’re too small a community, that it can’t happen here,” said Potter on Wednesday. “But we don’t have any supports in place for emergency help for people.

“You know everybody goes home at 4:30 p.m. and thinks that everything is fine. But people are hungry, outside and looking for some place to sleep.”

Working out of the FCSS offices on the town’s main street, which also houses the employment insurance office, the employment centre and the handibus office, Potter has seen the needs that exist in the community for short-term help.

That’s where the emergency fund would come in. It will provide financial help for those who need some temporary relief from a pressing bill, gas money to get to a new job, assistance paying a deposit to get utilities hooked up, a few days of motel accommodations, or some help filling a needed prescription until government assistance is available.

“We have a lot of people who have been on (employment insurance) for a long time and it’s run out. A few of them have been lucky enough to get a job but then they don’t have fuel to get back and forth until that first pay day,” she said, adding fuel cards could be provided.

“We have some clients who can’t get their medications. We had one gentleman here awhile ago and he couldn’t get any of his medications.”

In some cases, the hospital has admitted people for their own safety because they don’t have medicines or a place to stay during cold nights. “It’s not because they were sick, it’s because there was no other option.”

Potter said organizers also hope to put together backpacks including basic essentials such as personal hygiene items and cards for local food outlets that can be handed out. If needed, transportation costs could be arranged to shelters or programs in Red Deer.

The fund will not be used to hand out cash, but will find other ways to provide support. It is likely that help will be capped at a value of $500 per applicant and help would be provided only once every six months.

A pair of meetings have been held this month with members of local social service agencies and the Lutheran Church to get the project rolling. The first donations have rolled in and the word will be sent to the ministerial association, service clubs and potential business sponsors to encourage support.

It is hoped charitable status can be lined up in the future to allow those who donate to get tax receipts.

Those interested in getting more information can call 403-742-1155.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

‘Rough waters’: Spill raises new questions about fast-growing N.L. oil industry

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador’s ambitious plans to dramatically expand… Continue reading

Man from Olds killed in collision near Sundre

A 39-year-old man from Olds was killed in a collision near Sundre… Continue reading

Tips to keep crime at bay this Christmas

’Tis the season for joy and celebration, but the Christmas season can… Continue reading

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Baloo the cat is back at home after being mistakenly shipped to Montreal

HALIFAX — Much to the relief of his loving family, Baloo the… Continue reading

‘It’s what we do’: Famous Newfoundlanders help replace veteran’s stolen guitar

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Two famous Newfoundlanders stepped in to help an… Continue reading

Quebec’s anti-corruption unit blames media coverage for recruiting troubles

MONTREAL — Seven years after it was created, Quebec’s anti-corruption unit is… Continue reading

Former PQ cabinet minister poised to become next Bloc Quebecois leader

MONTREAL — It appears likely that Yves-Francois Blanchet, a former Parti Quebecois… Continue reading

J&J hammered by report it knew of asbestos in baby powder

NEW YORK — Johnson & Johnson on Friday forcefully denied a media… Continue reading

Police want direct talk with missing Colorado woman’s fiance

DENVER — An official leading the search for a missing Colorado woman… Continue reading

Death of 7-year-old on border raises questions

WASHINGTON — Just 7 years old, Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin was… Continue reading

Tkachuk’s goal in 3rd gives Flames 2-1 win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Matthew Tkachuk scored the go-ahead goal midway through… Continue reading

Most Read