Share the Warmth a suc­cess in re­turn to Swift Cur­rent

The Southwest Booster - - NEWS - SCOTT AN­DER­SON SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

Af­ter a decade-long ab­sence, the SaskEn­ergy Share the Warmth pro­gram re­turned to Swift Cur­rent to sup­port the Swift Cur­rent and Dis­trict United Way’s ef­fort to col­lect warm win­ter cloth­ing for city res­i­dents.

A large amount of do­na­tions were col­lected dur­ing an in­ten­sive weekend-long cam­paign, where many bags of win­ter cloth­ing were gen­er­ously given by res­i­dents.

The re-emer­gence of the Share the Warmth cam­paign was an ideal part­ner­ship be­tween the United Way and SaskEn­ergy to ad­dress an iden­ti­fied need in the com­mu­nity.

“The United Way had seen a need in our com­mu­nity for warm cloth­ing, and so we ac­tu­ally ap­proached them for a coats for kids pro­gram,” ex­plained Darla Lind­b­jerg, United Way Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor.

How­ever, both groups agreed the Share the Warmth for­mat could be used to fill the need more ef­fec­tively.

“It’s a so­lu­tion to help those that need them,” Lind­b­jerg said. “We also have a large im­mi­gra­tion base within Swift Cur­rent.

“Th­ese in­di­vid­u­als, some­times they’re aware of the weather con­di­tions, some­times they’re not.

“So it’s a way to help fam­i­lies, kids within the com­mu­nity, who might need those.”

There were many op­por­tu­ni­ties to sup­port the ini­tia­tive, in­clud­ing a three-day ef­fort at the Swift Cur­rent Mall, plus chances dur­ing the Go Green Fri­day Bar­be­cue hosted by Stark & Marsh at Mar­ket Square, plus the Swift Cur­rent Bron­cos game ver­sus Moose Jaw on Fri­day.

Leslie Gos­selin, SaskEn­ergy Man­ager for Ad­ver­tis­ing and Com­mu­nity Re­la­tions, com­mented that the Share the Warmth pro­gram has an im­por­tant im­pact.

“You know, as a mother I know that some­times if there’s a cri­sis in the fam­ily, or if some­body is sud­denly un­em­ployed, to be able to go out and buy new cloth­ing for those grow­ing chil­dren is vey dif­fi­cult, es­pe­cially when you’ve got sev­eral chil­dren in the fam­ily.

“So this is a way, I hope, A large sup­ply of do­nated items was con­trib­uted to the Share the Warmth lo­ca­tion at the Swift Cur­rent Mall. Help­ing fold cloth­ing dur­ing the ini­tia­tive were Swift Cur­rent and Dis­trict United Way board pres­i­dent Su­san Woods, Great Plains Col­lege Stu­dent As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Kait­lyn Tor­rie, SaskEn­ergy man­ager for Ad­ver­tis­ing and Com­mu­nity Re­la­tions Leslie Gos­selin, Swift Cur­rent Deputy Mayor Pat Friesen, plus vol­un­teers from the Royal Bank. for some of those fam­i­lies to have easy ac­cess to the cloth­ing that they need.

“There’s noth­ing worse than see­ing lit­tle kids go­ing to school in the win­ter time and not hav­ing hats or mitts or proper cloth­ing.

“So hope­fully this will make it eas­ier for some of those fam­i­lies right here in this com­mu­nity.”

She noted that the Share the Warmth op­er­ated as a prov­ince wide ini­tia­tive for an 11 year pe­riod be­fore tak­ing a hia­tus in 2004.

SaskEn­ergy rein­tro­duced the pro­gram in Swift Cur­rent in a part­ner­ship with the United Way to help with their col­lec­tion of warm cloth­ing for the win­ter.

“The pro­gram got so huge.

“In the last year, I think we col­lected about 170,000 pieces of warm cloth­ing in one year around the prov­ince, which is a re­ally big pile to fig­ure out what to do with.

“We got a bit tired I would say, so we just took a lit­tle bit of a break, and now we’re back at it.

“I think we’ll prob­a­bly look for com­mu­ni­ties where we can do this where we know the com­mu­nity is go­ing to rally be­hind us and help with the vol­un­teer­ing.

“I have to say, Swift Cur­rent has just been amaz­ing com­ing to­gether from all dif­fer­ent parts of the city,” Gos­selin said. “It’s been re­mark­able how it’s come to­gether so nicely.”

Kait­lyn Tor­rie, Great Plains Col­lege Stu­dent As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent, was part of a group of col­lege stu­dents who vol­un­teered for the pro­gram, while a col­lec­tion bin at the Swift Cur­rent cam­pus was filled with do­nated items.

“It’s a good way for our stu­dents to be in­volved in our com­mu­nity,” Tor­rie said about the ini­tia­tive.

“It doesn’t cost any­thing so it’s just a mat­ter of do­nat­ing our ex­tra cloth­ing for some­body in need.”

The United Way will now be striv­ing to get th­ese items of warm win­ter cloth­ing into the hands of peo­ple that need it through a se­ries of part­ner agen­cies in the City.

The re­main­ing cloth­ing will be dis­trib­uted by the Sal­va­tion Army.

“Those clothes will be avail­able, not for sale, that are needed by in­di­vid­u­als that can come and get them for free,” Lind­b­jerg said.

She en­cour­aged peo­ple who missed the Share the Warmth dona­tion pe­riod to hold onto cloth­ing for a cam­paign next fall, or they can do­nate items to the Sal­va­tion Army or MCC.

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