‘Tis the season to make a difference

By William Cockerell
Shootin’ the Breeze Shootin’ the Breeze Community Reporter
December 9, 2022


Many local organizations step up their efforts in December to ensure a stress-free, joyous holiday season for all.

The Christmas holidays are meant to be a time spent with friends, family and loved ones. It is a time of great happiness and cheer, feelings meant to be shared with those around you.

For some, unfortunately, the holidays can be a time of overwhelming negative emotions that can stem from a number of factors, like struggles with mental health and financial woes.

This weight can be unbearable due to the perceived gravitas of the holiday season and the fear of letting loved ones down. Some people simply can’t afford to buy a whole bunch of presents and no one should have to choose between food on the table or clothes or gifts for the holidays.

The importance of giving to those less fortunate during the holidays is unquestionable. As a small community, it’s important to give and help those around you who need it.

A number of local organizations in Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass and Piikani Nation step up their efforts in December, to ensure everyone can celebrate a stress-free, joyous holiday season. Not only does this provide reinforcement that people are not alone in their struggles, it provides a sense of pride in community and fulfillment for those who are able to give.


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Pincher Creek & District Food Centre

Located in the heart of downtown Pincher Creek, the Pincher Creek & District Food Centre houses the town’s food bank.

The staff and volunteers at the food centre work hard to ensure their mission objective is met to the best of their abilities. That mission is to eliminate food insecurity and hunger within the community by ensuring that everyone has access to nutritious foods.

While the Christmas season is the busiest time of year for organizations like this, the food centre works year-round with the community to ease food insecurity amongst residents. 

Food hampers are put together throughout the year for those in need of assistance obtaining nutritious food.

The centre works diligently to support members of the community, and this can only be achieved when the community supports them in return. The food centre works hand-in-hand with numerous partners, such as Co-op, Walmart, the Lions Club and many more incredible businesses and organizations.

If you wish to help in supporting the Pincher Creek & District Food Centre, there are a number of ways to do so. The food centre accepts monetary donations through e-transfer and food donations at their location. You can also go to the Town of Pincher Creek building and drop off cash or cheque of any value. 

The local Co-op has a large donation bin where people can donate food to the centre year-round.

Pincher Creek Emergency Services hosted a Stuff the Truck event in support of the centre, and will continue to accept donations on its behalf until Friday, Dec. 9, at 5 p.m.


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Crowsnest Pass Food Bank

The Crowsnest Pass Food Bank is located in Blairmore, one of the communities that make up the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass.

Like the food centre in Pincher Creek, it aims to fight food insecurity and ensure that locals are getting nutritious food in their homes without sacrificing other basic needs.

A food bank cannot function without the support of local businesses and community members. The Crowsnest Pass food bank has abundant community support in its mission to ensure all community members have access to nutritious foods.

Last Friday, Crowsnest Pass Fire & Rescue held its annual charity checkstop. Through community donations, it was able to raise $6,163.50 for the food bank, which will go toward purchasing fresh food items that otherwise cannot be donated directly.

Many local schools are currently holding food and coin drives in support of the food bank, and will continue doing so throughout this holiday season.

Local businesses including IGA, IDA and Red Apple have non-perishable-donation bins set up on-site. Additionally, IGA will be matching all monetary donations made in-store on Dec. 17 and 18.

If you’re looking to help support the food bank in fighting local food insecurity this holiday season, the best way to do so is through monetary donations. Monetary donations give the food bank more freedom with how it uses its warehouse space during the holiday season.

These can be made directly to the Crowsnest Pass Food Bank in many ways. You can mail monetary donations to PO Box 675, Blairmore, AB, T0K 0E0; drop them off at the food bank Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m.; e-transfer to this email; or donate online through canadahelps.org.

Tax receipts are available for donations over $20.

Should you wish to donate non-perishables instead of money, items the food bank is in need of include laundry soap, unsweetened cereal, jam, liquid hand soap and canned meat/vegetables.


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Piikani Food Bank

The Piikani Food Bank has been around for just under two years, but has made a tremendous impact on the Piikani Nation in a short period of time.

It is well documented that director Jody Little Wolf has worked hard to build the food bank up to what it is now in the time she has.

Their hard-working staff and volunteers do their due diligence to work hand in hand with the community they serve to ensure that food insecurity is a thing of the past on the reserve.

This Christmas holiday season, the food bank has put together Market Days in Piikani at the community hall. The first day was Nov. 23, with upcoming Market Days to be held Dec. 7 and 21 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Market Days in Piikani features a wide range of vendors who will be selling a variety of arts and crafts and baked goods. Special holiday food bags can be purchased on-site for only $10. Those who bring a donation for the food bank will be entered in a prize draw.

Vendors interested in setting up at the event can call the food bank at 403-965-3984 to reserve a table for $15.

If you are unable to attend Market Days, the best way to help Piikani Food Bank is to take monetary or food donations to the food bank, located at Peigan Community Hall, or send an e-transfer to piikanifoods@gmail.com. A donation receipt can be provided if you desire one.

Monetary donations give the food bank the freedom to purchase items that it is more in need of. However, if you wish to make a food donation, items needed include flour, oil, baking powder, oatmeal, milk and eggs.


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Pincher Creek Community Christmas Hampers

The Pincher Creek Legion is responsible for the Pincher Creek Community Christmas Hampers project, which has helped several households in the community since its inaugural year. 

The Christmas hampers are meant to aid local families who struggle with food insecurity during the Christmas holiday season. They are big hampers, intended to last families the Christmas holidays.

For those in need of a hamper this holiday season, Christmas hamper forms can be found at the Legion and at Napi Friendship Association.

Applications must be completed and dropped off at the Legion along with a $20 cash deposit by 4 p.m. on Dec. 14. The $20 cash deposit is returned upon pickup of the hamper.

Monetary donations from the community are crucial in assuring the success of this project. Many of the food items are purchased by the Legion for the hampers.

If someone wishes to donate to the Christmas hamper program they can drop off cash or cheques at the Legion after 4 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. Cheques can also be mailed to the Legion at PO Box 131, Pincher Creek, AB, T0K 1W0. Tax receipts are provided for monetary donations.

Food donations can be taken to the front lobby of the Legion and dropped off in the food bin, or taken to the Pincher Creek & District Food Centre.

Those who applied for the hampers can pick them up on Dec. 21 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. at 815 Main Street in Pincher Creek.

Many local organizations have stepped forward to assist the Legion with the hampers, including the Lions, Rotary, the Elks, the women’s shelter, Napi Friendship Association and the food centre.

The Legion is looking for more volunteers, so if you wish to help, head down to the Legion and let it be known. All help is welcome.


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Crowsnest Pass Christmas Food Hampers

Family and Community Support Services for the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass is once again partnering with the Crowsnest Pass Food Bank to provide community members in need with a Christmas food hamper.

The Christmas food hampers are not like your traditional food hamper. They include a number of food items that are specifically intended for a traditional Christmas day. Among the many items included are turkey, potatoes, carrots, corn and breakfast items like bacon, eggs, syrup and pancake mix.

The hampers are valued at about $100 each.

Residents of the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass can apply by calling Kim Lewis at 403-563-2207 to receive a Christmas food hamper, until the Dec. 8 deadline. You must be a Crowsnest Pass resident to apply. 

FCSS will continue accepting monetary donations leading up to the new year, which anyone can make.

Once the Dec. 8 deadline is reached, the food items are ordered based on the number of applications, set up and ready for delivery on Wednesday, Dec. 21.

FCSS is accepting only monetary donations due to the specific needs of the food hampers. If you would like to make a monetary donation, you can phone Kim Lewis or head over in person to the community services department located in the MDM Community Centre in Bellevue, 2802 222nd St . You can also mail a check to PO Box 600, Blairmore, AB, T0K 0E0, made out to the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass.

Charitable package receipts can be given to anyone making a donation of $25 or higher for tax purposes.

Any food donations one wishes to make can be taken to the Crowsnest Pass Food Bank.


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Crowsnest Pass Christmas Toy Hampers

This year, the Crowsnest Pass Family Resource & Crisis Centre has organized the Christmas toy hampers initiative. The program strives to provide age-appropriate toys to local children whose families may be unable to otherwise afford them this holiday season. 

Those who wish to apply for a toy hamper can call the centre at 403-562-8000 or stop by in person. The centre is located on the second floor of the provincial building in Blairmore, Room 208, 12501 20th Ave.

You must be a resident of Crowsnest Pass in order to apply for a hamper. The deadline to apply for a toy hamper is Dec. 9. Hampers will be ready by Dec. 21.

Crowsnest Pass Family Resource & Crisis Centre accepts both monetary and toy donations for the initiative.

Monetary donations make it so the centre can go out and buy toys for the hampers based on its needs at a given time.

Toys can be taken directly to the Family Resource Centre. Many local businesses have also set up toy donation drop-off bins, so be sure to keep an eye out for them.


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Pincher Creek Emergency Services: Stuff the Truck

On Dec. 3, Pincher Creek Emergency Services hosted a charitable event called Stuff the Truck. This was the first time that PCES threw the event.

Local fire-prevention officers and EMS staff were on-site at the Pincher Creek Walmart accepting donations of non-perishable food items, toys and hygiene products.

The event gave emergency services staff the opportunity to interact with and aid the community members that they serve and allow them to give back.

While the event has come and gone, PCES is still accepting donations in support of the Pincher Creek and District Food Centre and Napi Friendship Association.

Donations of non-perishable food, toys and hygiene products can be dropped at the Pincher Creek Fire Hall, located at 655 Charlotte St., from Dec. 5 to 9, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you wish to provide a monetary donation, Pincher Creek Emergency Services can direct you to the organizations it is supporting.


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Napi Toy and Food Drive

Napi Friendship Association will conduct its annual toy and food drive on Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The drive will be held at its location at 622 Charlotte St. in Pincher Creek.

Napi will be joined by RCMP members from both Pincher Creek and Piikani Nation, in addition to members of Pincher Creek Emergency Services who will be on-site with a fire truck.

Community members are encouraged to take in the event and help fill the RCMP cruisers on-site with a variety of toys and non-perishable food items.

The hope is that this event will help Napi Friendship Association lift the spirits of families struggling to supply themselves with food and toys for the holiday season.

There will be a fire for roasting hotdogs and hot chocolate provided as well.

Pincher Creek Emergency Services conducted the very successful Stuff the Truck event Dec. 3, where a large number of toys and food items were donated. The donated items have been split between Napi and the Pincher Creek & District Food Centre. 

Further donations of food, toys and hygiene products will be accepted at the Pincher Creek Fire Hall from Dec. 5 to 9 on Napi’s behalf. 

Until the toy and food Drive, Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village & Country Store has set up a trunk at its location for toy and non-perishable food donations for those interested or who can’t make the event.  


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Sock It To ‘Em

From Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, Nord-Bridge Seniors Centre is working in collaboration with Lethbridge School District, Holy Spirit School Division and Palliser Regional School Division to put on the 22nd annual Sock It to ’Em campaign.

Those participating in the operation collect new, unused socks, which they donate to local charities and those in need for Christmas.

St. Michael’s School in Pincher Creek, part of the Holy Spirit School Division, is one of many schools in southwestern Alberta participating in the initiative. Its caretakers, Trevor Clinton and Ryan Bunnage, as well as support staff from the school division, will be collecting new socks until Dec. 15.

There is a donation bin located at St. Michael’s where students and staff have been dropping off the new socks.

If you are not involved with the school and wish to donate new socks, you can head over to St. Michael’s School and drop off the socks in the donation bin. The more the merrier.

Any questions regarding the initiative can be directed to Trevor or Ryan. Simply call the school at 403-627-3488 and ask to speak to either of them for further information.


Ad showing tables with black table cloths and gold settings under a string of lights and promoting the Pincher Creek Community Hall as a wedding venue




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