In joining upwards of 20 local businesses, Strathmore’s Rona is the most recent enterprise to contribute and give back to the community, by donating hundreds of dollars worth of supplies to help the anticipated overnight shelter complete its finishing touches.
Rona provided the Strathmore Overnight Shelter (SOS) with 100 10 ft. 2×4’s, six pieces of drywall and a bucket of screws, valued at $738.
The contribution ensured the SOS board did not have to dip into their pockets of private donations, and instead they can allocate those funds to other necessities, such as an alarm system, fire system or additional building supplies.
“It shows people that the community sticks together and that they’re willing to help a fellow man,” said Richard Rodgers, director of outreach for SOS. “The first person I thought to ask was Rona. They give a lot to the community and I want to stay local before I go to the city.”
The donation will aid in framing and finishing the washrooms and sleeping quarters. In addition, the board and volunteers continue to work on a security system, a referral program, getting paperwork and policies in place, and hiring an executive director. Since its inception a year ago, various individuals and local businesses have contributed to the cause, either through monetary donations, with time or in goods.
These include Pizza 249, Siksika Nation, Tina’s No Frills and Legacy Fire Protection, to name a few. Now Rona will have their name among the others on a plaque once the doors open to Strathmore’s first overnight shelter.
“With Strathmore being a nice, small town and everybody knows each other, we feel that the overnight shelter is a really good cause and takes care of the people that are down on their luck,” said Ryan Kress, store manager at the Strathmore Rona.
“We want to take care of each other and watch each other’s backs, and this was an opportunity for us to do that. When they’re looking to build stuff, it’s within our market. With Rona we feel like it’s our duty to give back.”
The shelter will be located within the Harvest Healing Centre Church on Canal Gardens, and will offer 10 beds – a total of two rooms, one for men and one for women – free of charge. Those needing place to stay are allowed to find accommodation at the shelter for a maximum stay of five nights.
While not necessarily dominantly visible within Strathmore, local churches and hotels have noticed an increase in the need for a shelter, especially following a recent death in Wheatland County where an individual died from exposure. Others have seen individuals and families live in their cars, trailers, tents and in parking lots.
Currently, the shelter is expected to have a soft opening at the end of September, and welcoming clients in late October.
By Miriam Osterman, Times Associate Editor