By Miriam Ostermann, Associate Editor
With the start of December and anticipated colder temperatures on the horizon, the Wheatland Family and Community Support Services (WFCSS) has brought back its winter coat program, County Coats, and while interest has remained steady the organization is hoping to reach more people in the rural areas.
Four years ago, WFCSS launched the coat program, which at the time consisted of staff members taking the items to various locations in the county’s villages and hamlets. Last year, however, the organization spent half the season visiting communities and the other half setting up shop at the Wheatland County Municipal Operations Centre. As a result, they received more traffic and greater interest in the program, spurring the program to stay put at the office, located just 10 km east of Strathmore.
WFCSS Program Coordinator Lynn Walker hopes to see more residents make use of the free service.
“We’re really putting the push out there for people not to wait until it’s bitter cold, but to come in and do it now when it’s nice and they can travel,” she said.
“We are getting people coming in basically on a daily basis. I want our residents to know that these are here. If they are unemployed or on a fixed income, come grab a coat. There’s lots of them that still have tags on them. Deck yourself out.”
Items include various styles from baby snowsuits, to children’s clothing, to men’s and women’s coats. While most items were donated, some individuals in the hamlets also got together and knitted toques, mittens and boxes of scarves.
The program started at the beginning of November and allows residents to either donate an item, make a trade, or grab items for free.
More information can be found on the Wheatland FCSS Facebook page, or by visiting their website at www.wfcss.org, or the Wheatland County website at www.wheatlandcounty.com. The municipal office is open from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.