The Stettler Minor Hockey Association (SMHA) had its midget players work over the weekend, from Friday afternoon, Dec. 18 to Sunday evening, Dec. 20 to fundraise for the Food Bank and the crisis aid program of the Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), with $1,340 raised from a progressive 50/50 and a truck full of groceries, delivered to Stettler Food Bank on Monday morning, Dec. 21.
“The donation of $1,340 that the Midget boys made this morning is going to the crisis aid program, which is a one-time access program for people in a state of crisis, providing things like medical assistance, grocery, clothing vouchers etc.,” said Patrick Callin, an FCSS representative. “The people who are accessing this program use it as their last resort, because they have been unable to access any other government-funded programs.”
The crisis aid relies only on community donations, and is accessible by residents of the community only.
The SMHA executive board came up with the idea and handled the logistics by gathering volunteers and other team members to help out.
“I simply thought our midget players who have been playing hockey and have had the support of the community for years, needed to do something to give back,” said Ken Bengert, Midget A team manager. “When I approached the board, they came up with the Progressive 50/50 and Food Bank Truck idea, which was great and I would personally like to see this being held every year.”
The total amount raised from the progressive 50/50 was $2,680, with $1,340 going to Cheri Snider of Crowsnest Pass and $1,340 going to FCSS in Stettler.
“The truck is full of groceries which will be going to the Food Bank,” said Bengert. “This collection of food has been going on for two weeks.”
The Bantam and Midget girls collected a big portion of the food donation during their home tournament last weekend, Dec. 11-13.
The Atom teams recently made a food donation as well, and this came after their home tournament which was late November.
“I honestly had very little to do with the organizing,” said Bengert. “It ran very smoothly and it’s because of the very strong group of volunteers within SMHA who know how to get things done.”
According to Bengert, the feedback for the first time has been “great”.
“Everyone has tightened up their cash flow this year with the way the economy has been, but they still know how to donate and help the people that need it,” added Bengert. “This community has always been good about helping out.”
Several players from the Midget A, B and C teams have been at the rink all weekend to sell 50/50 tickets.
“When the organizers asked the Midget boys about giving up their time, it was very nice to see them step up, as none of this benefits SMHA, all the cash and food goes back into the community,” said Bengert. “We’ve had many people from other communities that were in town for a game say this was a good idea and they think their hockey associations should do something similar and I hope they do!”