Community chest ready to roll

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CARSTAIRS – With April just around the corner, the Carstairs Community Chest volunteers are getting ready to canvas.

The organization recently held its annual general meeting and was able to get enough volunteers to keep the program going strong.

“Since the call out for canvassers only four are still being sought,” said secretary Vicky Penner. “Thankfully many people responded to Facebook and social media appeals.”

Penner said that some people in town are still surprised when the canvassers come by even though they’ve been doing it for 65 straight years.

“We’re a charity that has been helping local people in need and crisis since 1952,” said Penner. “We have about 70 volunteer canvassers and board members dedicated to reminding people to donate. Community chest rings on doorbells on behalf of 13 charities so residents won’t be hounded throughout the year. This is the only way we can raise the funds at one time with virtually no cost since all are volunteers.”

After concluding the canvass, the funds are distributed to 11 local charities and two large ones based in Calgary. These groups then agree to refrain from canvassing in Carstairs, explains Penner.

“If a different organization comes knocking refer them to the town office where they will be told to go through community chest,” she added.

The Carstairs Community Chest held its annual general meeting on Feb. 24. The board set a goal of raising $66,000, up slightly from last year’s total of $65,182.

Penner said there were a number of charities who benefit from the community chest who attended the AGM and explained how the funds were used.

Barb Jans of the Mount View Special Riding Association explained how they provide a joy-filled riding experience for people with disabilities.

Peter Braithwaite of Habitat for Humanity explained their group provides housing for lower income families who then can appreciate a home within their means.

Don James with the Mountain View Food Bank stressed the increase of food hamper needs.

Penner spoke for the Rosebud Health Foundation and how they enhance health care for the local hospital district with equipment purchases.

“We also had some canvassers who shared the difficulties they have encountered,” said Penner. “There were many residents who do not seem to know the community chest exists. Also, it can be very hard to find people at home.”

Penner said anyone who is missed at home can still donate to the community chest at the Town Neighbourhood Party on May 12 or by going to the town office.

“You may also call your canvasser whose name will be on the brochure left at your door,” she added.

This year, the Carstairs Elementary Toast Program will be added for partial funding. The other 12 charities are: Hugh Sutherland School breakfast program; Carstairs CRASH Youth Centre; Mountain View Food Bank; Mount View Special Riding Association; Horizon School; Habitat for Humanity; Rosebud Health Foundation; Mountain View Emergency Shelter; Chinook Arch Victims Services; Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre; as well as Calgary based charities STARS and the Salvation Army.

For more information please call Vicky Penner at 403-337-2191.

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Craig Lindsay

Craig Lindsay is a reporter with the Mountain View Gazette who joined the newspaper in 2016. He covers news, sports and community events in Didsbury, Carstairs and Cremona. He is a photographer and columnist as well.