Checkstop to help families in need
Okotoks: Food, money donations collected Dec. 14 for food bank, Rowan House
Tuesday, Dec 12, 2017 11:43 am
Santa Claus will be joining his friends in uniform on Milligan Drive this week to help those in need.
The annual Okotoks Charity Checkstop takes place on Dec. 14 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Milligan Dr., north of the Okotoks Recreation Centre. Proceeds from the checkstop will go toward Rowan House, and food items will be collected in support of the Okotoks Food Bank.
Okotoks municipal enforcement officer Kai Kleckner said he hopes to beat last year’s numbers, which were higher than any year before. The checkstop brought in $9,500 for Rowan House and five truckloads of food donations for the food bank, he said.
“It was surprising, because the economy was not so great,” said Kleckner. “Maybe more people were just in a giving mood.”
Municipal enforcement will be joined by the man in red, Okotoks RCMP, Foothills Victim Services, Okotoks Fire, EMS, and representatives from Rowan House and the Okotoks Food Bank.
Kleckner said he hopes to see even more donations come in this year to support two charities that can use the extra help at Christmas.
“Families in Rowan House can use a lot of help, and the food bank needs a hand at Christmas time for families who are in need,” said Kleckner. “Christmas is one of the hardest times for a lot of people and the Okotoks Food Bank can provide families food for Christmas.”
Though it’s a checkstop, he said it’s different from the usual variety. People have the option of driving through if they don’t want to stop – but he hopes most drivers will come prepared with cash and food items in their vehicles if they travel down Milligan on Thursday.
Sheila Hughes, executive director of the Okotoks Food Bank, said the food bank has been involved since the beginning of the Charity Checkstop, and it’s a very valued and enjoyable event.
Not only does the checkstop provide much-needed food donations, it also provides volunteers and staff from the food bank the opportunity to thank the community in-person, she said.
“A lot of times we don’t see if people drop donations at the grocery store bins or drop in and out of here quickly or they’re involved in a food drive somewhere,” said Hughes. “We don’t always get to say thank you in person, so that’s a really nice thing for us to be able to do.”
The holidays are a difficult time for many families in need, and she said she expects the number of Christmas hampers given out will be higher than last year because of increased demand at the food bank. As of Dec. 9, more than 200 families were registered to receive a hamper. In 2016, a total of 225 were given out.
Receiving five truckloads of food from the checkstop goes a long way to helping families after Christmas, she said.
“It’s going to go a long way to help us feed our families through spring for sure,” said Hughes. “Something like that is certainly very important.”