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Weyburn Rotary project evolving with needs at community agencies

The Rotary Club had made recent visits to the Family Place and the Salvation Army, and found out of some needs they will try to meet.

WEYBURN - A Weyburn Rotary Club project to provide kits and totes of emergency items to families and individuals is continuing on, but is evolving as new and different needs are coming up at the recipient community agencies.

Project organizers Gwen Wright and Robin Williams told the Rotary Club on Thursday they had made recent visits to the Family Place and the Salvation Army, and found out of some needs they will try to meet for the clients who are in need.

At the Family Place, said Wright, they found the children’s kits have been extremely well received there, but there is another need, namely for fresh fruits and vegetables for some of their families.

They were told that amongst a group of 43 young families being helped at the Family Place, some moms are finding it very difficult to have enough funds for fresh fruits and vegetables, after their budget is spent on other necessities, particularly with the rising costs of food remaining as an ongoing challenge.

Wright discovered they had a $200 gift card to the Co-op that had not been used as yet, so they went to the Co-op grocery store and bought $120 worth, including bags of apples, mandarin oranges, carrots, peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, along with a supply of zip-lock baggies.

“They were so excited,” said Williams, and they divided up the produce into a mix of fruits and veggies to distribute to families in need. Wright noted the families also have access to the food bank at the Salvation Army, but mostly they get dried or canned goods provided there, not fresh produce.

“Hopefully we can continue with this project,” she added, noting they were going to pay them a visit to see how the distribution went and what the needs might be going forward.

There are gift cards which are donated to the clients of the Family Place, but oftentimes this goes towards gas (which is also very expensive) and not much is left over for things like fresh produce, she said.

“Isn’t that sad that in this community, there are moms who can’t afford to buy their kids fresh fruit and veggies?” asked Williams. “We will touch base with them and see if we can be of service again.”

Asked what is in the children’s kits, Wright said they include toothpaste, a toothbrush, socks, an activity and a game, and a suggestion was made at the Family Place to also include children’s shampoo in these kits.

At the Salvation Army, they found that some of the totes are still available there, so they asked what they could do to help.

The suggestion, from ministries coordinator Nicole Strickland, is if one large tote was provided with the supplies, the staff at the Salvation Army could then make up hampers according to the needs of the clients. Some of these supplies include shampoo, body wash, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, said Wright.

Other items that have been very well received there include laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent and Poise pads.

“So I think our totes and kits are evolving into a big tote and they can distribute the things as they are needed. I think that’s what we’re going to try,” said Wright.

Williams said they initially thought that seniors would be a group of people who would be in need, but they are finding more it’s young families with children.