Resource centre changed holiday program

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With the Christmas over, the Okotoks Healthy Family Resource Centre is focusing on supporting families in need on the other 364 days of the year.

The resource centre at the Okotoks Health and Wellness Centre previously ran its Adopt-a-Family and Holiday Helpers programs in the lead up to the holidays.

Centre co-ordinator Sherri Mullen said it found there are already a variety of local charities and organizations active in during the holiday season.

So, she said it set up a new program, called The Other 364 Days of the Year, to provide one-time support during an emergency.

Mullen said the centre felt there are enough other organizations working during the Christmas season that it could change focus without negatively affecting its clients. She said the centre is referring people to other agencies for holiday support such as the Salvation Army or the Okotoks Food Bank.

“We were filling a gap that existed when we started our programs, and really the services of the Salvation Army started being much more visible in our community so we felt much more comfortable pulling out,” said Mullen. “We have a fund that we can use to help on a one-time basis for emergency needs for gas and grocery cards, it also covers things like if families need a lice treatment or things that no one else is covering.”

The centre only gives out gift cards, adding the cards are intended to help meet basic needs and free up cash for other essentials. Mullen said it is prepared to work with families that have bigger needs that can provide more help over a longer period.

“We can offer something quick, it’s usually like a $50 gas card or grocery card while we’re trying to get other programs in place for them,” she said.

Families looking to access the program can go to the resource centre for an assessment. Mullen said people who want to support the program can donate cash or gift cards for gas or groceries.

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