With the start of the school year only a few weeks away, Lacombe & District FCSS has launched the annual Tools for School campaign.
Applications are available online or at the FCSS office, and will be accepted through to the beginning of September, said Crystal Zens, FCSS executive director.
“We have our donation bins out in stores around town, as well as our change collector jars,” she said, adding that donations can also be made online. Corporate donations and sponsors are also of course welcome, too.
“We have a lot of community need for Tools for School, as well as Shoes for School,” explained Zens. For the shoe program, gift cards from Reds Source for Sports for indoor gym shoes are provided.
“It’s a great partnership - they are very supportive of this initiative.”
Zens added that there were several newcomers to Lacombe from Ukraine over the past few months, and FCSS was able to help them with supplies from the organization’s stock.
Looking ahead, she expects the need for supplies to increase in the coming months.
“We take donations of new items, as well as cash donations, and also donations of change at the till,” she said. “It’s about giving all kids the equal chance and opportunity to succeed in learning - it’s a gateway to their future success.
“We want them to go into school with confidence and with what they need to learn so that they can feel equally equipped,” she said.
“Our city is a wonderful place for generosity and kindness - it’s a great city to operate a charity in so we are really blessed in how people step up and help their neighbours.”
Speaking of which, Nowco Home Hardware recently organized Chairs for Charity for the fourth year and tickets were sold from July 11-21 for $5 each.
This year, in partnership with Lacombe & District FCSS, the event raised $8,755 for the Fill a Fridge Program. Almost 50 chairs were painted and raffled off, with record-breaking numbers set for ticket sales and money raised.
“This past year, there was such a big need in the spring around Easter with the cost of living, people’s utility bills going crazy and the price of gas,” said Zens. “So we had our first-ever spring Fill a Fridge to help the community in this time of need.
“And so to also have this fundraiser in the mid-summer to help kick off our next big giving campaign - which would be the Christmas season - is awesome because it will really help us prepare,” she said.
“The cool thing is also that it’s not only about raising the funds, but it’s also about the incredible advocacy and partnering with all of the amazing businesses that put their hearts and souls into (decorating) these chairs.
“It’s an awesome way for the businesses to give back, show their community spirit, and to work collaboratively for a great cause,” she said, adding that plenty of energy and thought goes into decorating each chair. “It’s really fun.”
The top two highest raffle ticket-selling chairs this year were Dutchess Flower Co. and Len Thompson Lures.
To date, Chairs for Charity has raised $23,400 for local charities.
This year, 48 businesses participated.
Fill a Fridge certificates are redeemable at grocery stores in the City of Lacombe and Lacombe County.
Zens said the program is unique in that it allows families to purchase their own food items and make choices that work for their families.
Last Christmas season, more than 600 local individuals accessed the Fill a Fridge Program.
For more on how to support Tools for School and/or Shoes for School, check out