Sarah Thompson, Marnie Davidson and Jen Schlender proudly present the school supplies to be given to the eligible students at I.S.S. on Wednesday, Aug 29th.
Pass Herald Reporter
An act of charity is an understatement when speaking about the donations that the Women of Steel, an organization through Teck, have recently offered schools around the area.
Co-Chairs of WOS Jen Schlender and Sarah Thompson, accompanied by President of United Steel Workers Local 93456, Alex Hanson, went in person to deliver the backpacks to the schools. They visited the Pass and its three local schools on Wednesday, Aug 29th.
“We want to make a difference,” said Schlender.
Women of Steel, (WOS) is a newly formed group made up of Elkview mine women who strive to set a positive example in their communities by helping local people in need.
Another project WOS has recently undergone was collecting donations for the Sparwood Women’s Centre and providing toiletries such as soaps and shampoo for the shelter.
This is WOS’ second year providing school supplies. They provided supplies to all schools in Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford and the Crowsnest Pass. A total of 69 backpacks were filled and handed out.
WOS was provided with a school supplies list from the schools, and bought every item on the list, specific to the grade and school of the student to which it would be delivered. Supplies from erasers to the backpack itself were purchased.
Any student who is in need of the school supplies is eligible for the contributions.
“The need is overwhelming,” said Sarah Thompson
Schlender and Thompson said they went to the store with around $2,300 and left the store with about $8.
WOS communicated with school counsellors, and food banks from local shelters to determine who has the greatest need.
The supplies were bought using the money collected solely by donations WOS collected.
Donations to make this generous program possible primarily came from the miners and staff at Teck-Elkview Coal throughout the summer months. Cash was also donated by the Membership of USW Local 93456, A Crew Social Club, D Crew Social Club, Staples, Teck, and local individuals.
Women of Steel set up donation bins, and collected offerings from employees throughout the summer.
“I think that the need our communities have for this is amazing,” said Thompson. “We hope to start earlier next year and hopefully get the community more involved,” she said.
WOS has to continue giving backpacks and supplies next year and making this act of charity a tradition for many years to come.
“The Women of Steel should be applauded for their efforts in the community,” said Hanson.
“We want to expand this next year, and we are looking for anyone who is interested on being on the donor list for next year to call the union hall at (250) 425-0131.
WOS wish to thank everyone for their support and generous donations.