June 21st, 2024

Family Centre bottles up funds


By Dale Woodard on June 1, 2021.

Herald photo by Dale Woodard - Ben Vassell, 10, hands a bag full of bottles to Ang Crandall at the Lethbridge Family Centre and GPS Container Depots bottle drive Saturday afternoon at the Lethbridge Family Centre. The bottle drive was set up at three different locations.

Another bottle drive is in the bag.
Actually, several bags.
At least that’s how it looked at Family Centre West Saturday afternoon as 10-year-old Ben Vassell and Ang Crandall loaded up multiple bags of bottles as the Family Centre and GPS Container Depot teamed up for the fundraising initiative.
Family Centre is a non-profit organization which provides a range of services to children, youth and families in southwestern Alberta with a focus on prevention and early intervention.
In a past year of the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced Family Centre to alter its programming combined with funding cuts to the organization, Saturday’s bottle drive was a crucial to generate some funds.
“Prior to COVID, Family Centre was hit with funding cuts, so our organization got hit pretty significantly,” said Maral Kiana Tari executive director for Family Centre. “But with COVID it was amplified. So not being able to run our yearly gala, which usually generates a lot of funds for us and a few other fundraising events we typically have, it was really important to have these events, to be able generate money for our operation as well as fill in the gaps where our funding may not cover. So it’s really important for us and it’s also for the community to see we are active and open. We’re there for our families and we really encourage families to reach out and be part of the programs. I know restrictions limit on how the programs operate. Our doors are closed to the public, but our organization is very hard at work supporting families in Lethbridge.”
On Saturday, sites to drop off the bottles were also set up at GPS Container Depot locations on the north and west side of the city.
“We’re having a city wide bottle drive that’s happening in three different locations,” said Kiana Tari. “Of course, COVID-19 has hit many organizations and many lives have changed because of it. Our organization has had to alter fundraising initiatives and being able to still engage the community as well. So this bottle drive is encouraging to donate bottles and support the Family Centre.”
As of Saturday afternoon, the bags were still being loaded up at the west side location.
“So far it’s going great,” said Kiana Tari. “Lethbridge is a very generous community and it has been amazing to see people not only donate bottles, but also funds. That’s an option we wanted to put out to the community. If they don’t have bottles, they can always give funds and support us that way.”
The GPS Container Depot will continue to receive bottles donated to the Family Centre until June 30.
“So if people weren’t able to come today they can always donate and support us that way,” said Kiana Tari.
The GPS Container Depot has locations at 613 13th St. North and 10-872 Heritage Blvd. West.
Last year was the first year Family Centre held the bottle drive and the pandemic actually helped the fundraising initiative.
“Last year the bottle depots were closed due to COVID and everybody had accumulated so many bottles and we were able to collect about $8,000, which is incredible,” said Kiana Tari. “We know things are different this year, but our goal is to hit $4,000 to $5,000 this year.”
The pandemic may have helped Family Centre raise a few extra bucks last year, but otherwise has forced the organization to pivot on the operations to heed to COVID protocol.
“Normally, Family Centre, especially the downtown location, is filled with laughter and children running around,” said Kiana Tari. “But our programs have had to go virtual due to the restrictions. Some of them had to ability to do some in-person, one-on-one sessions. We did open it up to go outdoors and do our programs outdoors, but with the recent restrictions that just ended we had to pivot again and go virtual. Our hope is, as restrictions are lifted and we’re able to have those outdoor gatherings again, is to have our programs go outside. We have seen huge interest from the community who want to go outside and for families to be outside and gather. That’s what we’re looking for this summer, to be able to have our programs run outdoors.”
In the meantime, Family Centre has been coming up with creative ways to continue to raise funds and get the word about the organization out.
“We’ve been putting it in the ears of our community that there are different ways to give and different ways to support Family Centre and this bottle drive is something that is safe and COVID-friendly for us to be able to raise some funds,” said Kiana Tari.

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