Due to the continuous effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Blackfalds Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) has not only seen an uptick in accessing the food bank but also an increased demand to access subsidized programs, including the Winter Coat Program.
The Winter Coat Program provides brand new winter coats for kids and the demand has risen from 105 children in 2019 to over 150 this year. Along with the first taste of cold and snow last week, it is apparent that winter is coming, and many local families are running out of time and options.
“Families in our community with limited resources simply do not have the means to purchase the clothing needed to stay warm in Alberta’s harsh winters,” said Karie Ackermann, Community Engagement Programmer for FCSS.
“The most vulnerable among us are children. It’s hard to play outside, make snow angels, or just be a kid without a warm coat. All children should have a chance to stay active year-round. Community support is crucial for the success of this program.”
Along with the increased needs of the community, it has also been a challenge to raise funds to support these programs. In the past years, FCSS has partnered with local businesses and vendors to create the dessert auction night called the Winter Warmth Fall Fundraiser, where tickets could be purchased to join FCSS for a night of entertainment, beverages, and desserts. A live auction would take place which would result in even more monetary donations.
With the pandemic still a large concern in the community, it was decided to host a virtual dessert auction on the Town of Blackfalds Facebook page. FCSS is hopeful that this new avenue of fundraising will be successful.
Thankfully, in times of adversity, the Blackfalds community is stepping up to help those struggling as was the case when an anonymous community donor graciously donated $7,000 to the cause.
“Blackfalds FCSS is super appreciative of the tremendous support that our programming has seen through this pandemic,” said FCSS Manager Sue Bornn.
“We were fortunate to receive an anonymous donation of $7,000 in support of the Winter Coats for Kids program just last week. There are many caring people that understand the challenges facing families and we are extremely grateful for their support. Thank you very much for helping to keep our kids warm.”
Starting Nov. 2 at 8:30 a.m., the Town of Blackfalds will be posting descriptions of desserts, and the creators providing that dessert, that will be made specifically for the winner and the auction will close at 4 p.m. on Nov. 25.
As FCSS navigates through this turn of events it is hopeful that although the pandemic has brought challenges for local families, it will also show them reward for their resilience and support from their neighbours.