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August 12th, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 31
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The Women of Steel donate to the CNP Food Bank
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Lisa Sygutek Photo
The Women of Steel donate backpacks to the Women’s Resource Centre for students in need. Picture left to right, Women’s Resource Director, Desiree Simoneau, Women of Steele members Tammy Griffiths, Sarah Thompson and Jenn Schlender.
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
For the past 4 years The Women of Steel Union’s (United Steelworkers Local 9346) women’s committee has provided backpacks full of school supplies to underprivileged kids in the Elk Valley and the Crowsnest Pass from K-12.

The group fundraise all the funds throughout the year to buy supplies.
The donation of the backpacks are anonymous so that the identities of the kids and families are not exposed.

The group obtains the class supply lists from the schools at the end of June and then fill the packs according to the needs.

In the Elk Valley the committee gives the full packs back to whoever “ordered” them be it the Food Banks or the Women’s Center and they will distribute them to the families. The kids have everything they need, with the exception of shoes, before the first day of school.

Since the Pass is a little different, in that they supply all the materials in exchange for a fee to the parents, the committee provides the schools and the CNP Women’s Resource Centre with backpacks, lunch bags and water bottles.

They are also in contact with the schools to see if they need supplies to provide kids they feel are in need of extra supplies throughout the year.
The committee also does this for the schools in the Elk Valley as well so that we can reach the kids who are still in need but do not use the Food Banks or the Women’s Resource Centers.

The goal of this program is to make all children equal. They want kids, no matter their background, to have what they need to be successful in school. The committee wants all children to go to school with confidence and thrive.
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The feedback the groups have received from the shelters and food banks is amazing – stating that mothers and kids are in tears of joy when they pick up their new packs full of all the new supplies they will need for the year.

Last year the group raised and spent $4200 dollars and provided 69 backpacks in the CNP and the Elk Valley.

The committee raised $5000 this year through BBQ’s at the bus stop at our workplace (Elkview Coal) where they fed co-workers burgers and a pop before their night shifts and as they were getting off day shift. The initiative raised $3000.

The group had $1000 donated from the Elk Valley Thrift Shop and $500 each from our sister Union Locals in the Valley – USW 7284 in Sparwood, and USW 7884 in Elkford.

The committee provided the CNP Women’s Resource Centre and Food Bank with 20 packs with the rest of the donations coming in at the end of the month.

The WOS have also participated in Relay for Life, collect soaps and shampoos from our co-workers that they get from hotel stays and donate them to the shelters. To date the group has done a fundraiser to buy a wheelchair lift for one of our co-workers’ children, and have initated fundraisers to help sick co-workers, among many other projects.
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August 12th ~ Vol. 85 No. 31
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