Mat Program to re-open for the season on Nov. 1

Callie Hermanson
Lakeside Leader

The Mat Program for the homeless will be up and running on November 1.

The program will be held in the basement of the old St. Peters Ecumenical Church again this winter.

On September 22 the Native Friendship centre held a pancake breakfast to raise funds to pay for security and utilities over the next six months (from November 1, 2018, to April 30, 2019). The fundraiser not only included breakfast, but there was also some gift baskets up for raffle. Barb Courtorielle, with the Native Friendship Centre says the fundraiser had a great response and was very successful. She says the breakfast raised $1,063, the raffle raised $700.71 and $1,300 in donations given by community members.

However, funding is in place for only two months of operation. Courtorielle is attending a rural homelessness symposium in Canmore next week. She hopes some funding opportunities come out of that.

“I’m taking all my numbers,” she says.

Courtorielle is currently interviewing security for the program and Courtorielle mentioned she would like to contact the RCMP for some training for this year’s security officers to help prepare them for the job.

Courtorielle also adds due to new health and safety guidelines installed by Alberta Health Services this year, outside food can no longer be served to people in the program. She says all food must be cooked in a commercial kitchen.

“This will make things a little more difficult for me, but a few people have called in and offered to help cook.”

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