Busy times at the Stettler Information and Referral Centre despite pandemic restrictions

Busy times at the Stettler Information and Referral Centre despite pandemic restrictions

A Volunteer Appreciation event will run Sept. 25th at the Carl Stettler Memorial Corner on Main St.

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s still been a busy season for Lorraine Hankins of the Stettler Information and Referral Centre.

“We received a social services FCSS grant in July which enables us to support families and individuals through (the pandemic),” said Hankins, who is the Centre’s executive director.

“It will help with food supplies and transportation for example. We’ve also been continuing to do taxes for local families all through the summer and into the fall. We are also looking to partner with the Stettler Library to do some craft bags for isolated seniors in the community and in the lodges,” she said.

That would be of particular help as the community heads into the winter months and cases of isolation tend to increase.

“They’ve had limited contact with families all year,” she added. “So we are trying to come up with some bags that would be helpful, and help to pass the time,” she said, adding that group projects for seniors may also be something that could be offered down the road, too.

Hankins said that besides the FCSS grant, the organization also received some provincial funding for mental health and addictions initiatives.

The plan at this point is to produce a local resource and programs book, detailing the range of resources available across the community.

“It will be in print and digital form, and will be helpful for clients to access various programs and services, such as housing for example, or for help with employment. It would also be good for professionals as well. It’s a big project I’ve been wanting to do forever.

“We’ll also be setting up an additional computer system out front for people who don’t have access to a computer,” she said.

As mentioned, Hankins assists many seniors with any number of forms they may have to fill out to apply for various programs, from Canada Pension to Old Age Security to helping them to complete tax returns.

Hankins also offers information referrals – anyone with any questions about where to turn for specific assistance can call her office and be pointed to the agency or organization that is best suited to meet their needs from mental health to social services.

She provides guardianship, trusteeship and personal directive services as well.

“I also help lots of newcomers with renewing their working visas or Canadian citizenship or permanent resident (issues). We help families in crisis, too, with forms or we point them in the right direction to help provide them with more options and services.

“We want to make sure people are receiving help from all of the programs for which they are eligible. Sometimes it’s a housing subsidy, sometimes it’s a Canada Pension program question — all those kinds of things.”

Looking back over the past several months, Hankins describes the accelerated demand for services at the Centre – particularly in the early months of the pandemic.

“It’s been extremely busy. March and April were off the wall – I never got off the phone. Just the number of inquiries about federal programs – ‘Am I eligible for CERB? Should I go on CERB? When is the extra payment coming for Old Age Security?’”

Clients have needed assistance with everything from CPP to health care cards to assistance with wrapping up their taxes.

These days, Hankins is also hoping some of that funding coming to the Centre can go towards hiring extra help as she anticipates a very busy fall season due, in part, to the ending of CERB for one thing.

But one thing that does help in meeting the needs in the community is by partnering with other local agencies, she added.

Meanwhile, as events connected to National Volunteer Appreciation Week this past spring had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, a special day of celebration is coming up.

A Volunteer Appreciation event will run Sept. 25th at the Carl Stettler Memorial Corner (50th Ave. and 50th St.)

Everyone is invited to drop by for a free lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in recognition of all of the volunteers that help to bring the community together, said Hankins.

The theme this year is ‘Cheers to Volunteers’.

For more, call the Stettler Information and Referral Centre at 403-742-1155.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Stettler Pheasant Festival reflects on community impact

The festival has seen people visit from all over western Canada and into the United States

Every year, the Maruk family puts up an amazing Christmas lights show

Display to run nightly starting around 5:30 p.m. until 10 p.m.

The Government of Alberta has identified 1,828 new cases and 15 new COVID-19-related deaths, which brings the provincial death toll to 590. (File photo)
Alberta identifies 1,828 new COVID-19 cases on Friday

Central zone has 1,251 active cases

Alberta RCMP. Black Press file photo.
Alberta RCMP enforces safe, sober driving this holiday season

‘Please plan ahead and find a safe means of transportation to and from your holiday destinations’

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which causes COVID-19, emerge from the surface of cells isolated from a patient in the U.S. and cultured in a lab in a 2020 electron microscope image. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Alberta now has 17,743 active cases of COVID-19

Province now has 17,743 active cases

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Judge finds former Alberta Mountie not guilty of sexually assaulting colleague

Jason Andrew Tress, who is 34, was stationed in the northern Alberta community of Faust at the time of the alleged assault

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Alberta set to retire coal power by 2023, ahead of 2030 provincial deadline

In 2014, 55 per cent of Alberta’s electricity was produced from 18 coal-fired generators

Montreal Alouettes’ Michael Sam is set to make his pro football debut as he warms up before the first half of a CFL game against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. Sam became the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. He signed with the Montreal Alouettes after being released by St. Louis, but abruptly left after playing one game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Study finds Canada a ‘laggard’ on homophobia in sports

Among females, 44 per cent of Canadians who’ve come out to teammates reported being victimized

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Lacombe Police and RCMP have charged four people and seized three loaded guns and a small amount of methamphetamine following a traffic stop on Dec. 2. (Photo contributed)
Lacombe Police and RCMP arrest four people after joint investigation

The operation resulted in multiple loaded weapons seized and 116 charges

Longtime central Alberta politician Judy Gordon has passed away. Photo courtesy of the City of Lacombe
Former Lacombe Mayor Judy Gordon passes away

Gordon also served as MLA for Lacombe-Stettler before retiring from politics in 2010

Most Read