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Anglican church extends a helping hand

Community’s oldest church donates to five Innisfail and area charities that serve the young, sick and vulnerable
Five Innisfail and area non-profit groups received donations from St. Mark's Anglican Church on Nov. 21. From left to right in top row are Edmund Barker, the church's bishop's warden; Tyler Hildebrandt from The Mustard Seed in Red Deer, and Innisfail RCMP Const. Craig Nelson for the Youth Positive Assets Coalition. In bottom row from left to right are Destiny Mand from Red Deer's Ronald McDonald House, Norma Hoppins who represented the Innisfail and District Food Bank and Sue Haddow on behalf of the Innisfail Christmas Bureau. Photo by Candice Hughes

INNISFAIL - Every year at this time the town’s St. Mark’s Anglican Church makes a benevolent mark on the community and beyond.

Following a fellowship dinner held at the historical 130-year-old church, several charitable organizations in and around Innisfail are chosen by the congregation to receive financial support.

“There is no specific fundraising thing but what we have is a policy where a percentage of the monies that we have taken in through the year from the contributions of the congregation are being donated to causes as outreach because that's part of our function as a church,” said Edmund Barker, the church’s bishop’s warden following the fellowship dinner on Nov. 21. “We make sure that a certain percentage each year is being donated back into the community.

“There is always a need, and it's probably got more so in the last two or three years and it doesn't look like that's something that's going to be declining anytime in the near future,” added Barker, who has been with the church for the past 30 years. “We want to be able to support people as best we can when they have a need.”

Five non-profit groups in need were chosen this year.

The Innisfail Christmas Bureau, Innisfail and District Food Bank and Youth Positive Assets Coalition (YPAC) each received $1,000. Outside of town, Red Deer’s Ronald McDonald House and The Mustard Seed were each given $500.

“We were really happy to hear from this little church in Innisfail. This is fantastic,” said Destiny Mand of Ronald McDonald House. “We see a lot of families who need to travel from Innisfail to Red Deer or from Innisfail to Calgary or Edmonton for care for their sick children. So, we were there for the families.”

She said her organization’s current greatest need is for volunteers to come in and cook meals.

“Before COVID volunteers would come in and cook supper every night. There used to be a waiting list because so many groups and volunteers were coming in. We are really struggling to get people in to cook a home-cooked meal for our families every night,” said Mand, adding the Innisfail church’s donation comes at the right time.

“This donation will give us the ability to help provide on those nights we do not have volunteers coming in to cook. We are able to buy meals and provide food for our families.”

Innisfail RCMP Const. Craig Nelson was at the fellowship dinner to receive the $1,000 cheque on behalf of YPAC. He said the funds will go towards the group’s programs that are “driven by the youth.

“The Youth Positive Assets Coalition works in conjunction with the Youth Action Committee, and that’s a committee with just young people who get together and say, ‘hey, these are the things we need to be busy to build assets in the community so we can give back to the community',” said Nelson.

“Christmas time is a tough time for a lot of kids. We want to support our kids as much as we can because not everyone is as fortunate as everyone else.

“Having a voice for youth in the community to be able to speak to what they need during this holiday season is really important.”


Johnnie Bachusky

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