By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – A Town program that helps low income families gain access to Community Services programs got a healthy injection of funding, thanks to the owners, staff and customers of the local No Frills grocery store.
Owners Chris and Tracey Mansbridge presented Morinville’s Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) Coordinator, Amy Dribnenky, with a cheque for $1,586 Aug. 6, an amount that represents more than one third of the Program Accessibility Support Subsidy (PASS) program’s annual budget.
No Frills owner Chris Mansbridge said the amount was raised over a one-week period with No Frills customers making a $2 donation at the check out.
“We were looking for a charity to donate [to] within Morinville because this was a community-oriented program that we were trying to run through the tills,” Mansbridge said, adding that prior to initiating the program, he had consulted with the Town of Morinville to see where the money might be donated. “We got information on the PASS and that’s what we decided to donate to.”
Dribnenky said she was excited to receive the donation to the program and that it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“In the Town of Morinville we are strong believers in youth in the community and seeing them thrive,” she said. “Knowing that kids that might not necessarily get a chance to participate in some of these programs and activities have the opportunity to do things and gain those memories and experiences is very exciting for us.”
The FCSS coordinator explained that through the PASS program, families can apply for an annual subsidy of up to $260 per child and up to $130 per adult to help fund participation in local programs, including the Town’s summer camps and library memberships.
Dribnenky said council has allocated $5,000 per year of the Town’s budget for the program and that this year the demand for subsidies has been on the increase.
“We’ve had a much higher demand this year,” Dribnenky said. “We’re seeing a lot more interest in the PASS program, so the additional funds will be definitely helpful.”
The FCSS coordinator attributes the increase in demand to a combination of economic conditions and an increased awareness of the program’s availability.
“We’ve definitely been trying to get the word out about PASS because we know there is a lot of need in Morinville,” Dribnenky said, adding that the program hasn’t necessarily been used to its full potential in the past. “We’ve been trying to raise awareness and really talking to people and getting the word out. I think the economy definitely plays a part in it though.”
Application forms for the PASS program are available at: www.morinville.ca/downloads/pass-2.pdf