BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Lacombe and District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is putting the call out to the community to support Coats for Kids and to prepare for other upcoming campaigns.
Coats for Kids began Oct. 1st and will continue to operate through until February of 2017.
The program issues charitable tax receipts for donations that allow families to purchase new winter wear for their kids. The donations can be made in person at local FCSS offices or online at lacombefcss.net.
“We want all our kids to be warm when the temperatures turn freezing cold. We want those kids playing outside at recess and we want them active in the community. To do that, they need to be warm and have warm things to wear,” said Jan Pocock of Lacombe and District FCSS.
The program no longer accepts second-hand clothing items, but instead seeks donations so families can purchase clothing items that are chosen by the children.
Pocock said this makes the experience that much more meaningful to families, and helps the youths to have pride in their winter garments.
“We want all children to be proud and confident, which is why we now let the kids choose a brand new winter coat that they can proudly wear for a few years. We no longer receive second-hand coats. Instead, we suggest people who do have good quality used coats take those items into the wonderful second-hand stores we have in town.”
She said the program has reached many families and that it’s always a great experience to see the smiles on kids’ faces when they get to proudly show off their new coats or pants.
“My very, very favourite memory of this program is from last year. A little girl came in to show me what she had chosen – the brightest, pinkest pair of ski pants you had ever seen in your life, with a matching coat,” Pocock said with a laugh.
“That little girl was just so proud of these bright pink ski pants – she was wearing them inside, and could hardly wait for the snow to come to play in it. That’s exactly what we want to see in the recipients – pride and joy.”
Lacombians and those in surrounding communities are asked to keep in mind the upcoming Fill A Fridge program that will begin receiving applications on Nov. 14th to Dec. 15th.
According to Pocock, the Fill a Fridge program is the largest FCSS program of the year.
Last year, 517 individuals – children, adults and seniors – were reached through the program.
Families apply for grocery vouchers that can be used at the three local grocery stores, as well as other regional grocery stores in the district including Alix and Mirror.
Pocock said both Coats for Kids and Fill a Fridge depend on the generosity of the community.
“Lacombe is an amazing community. They always meet the needs of the community, and we’re so thankful for that.”