INNISFAIL – The Mounties are back to serve up holiday season cheer.
And they are also back to finally celebrate the 25th anniversary of their annual Charity Check Stop on Main Street. The milestone event was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With so much negativity with the whole COVID thing and so much divisiveness in the world right now, Christmas is one of those chances when we get together and actually really work on doing something beautiful,” said Innisfail RCMP Const. Craig Nelson. “And last year we were so handcuffed. It was just unsafe and so we couldn’t do it. It was so difficult.
“I’ve been hearing from the community how excited to see this back and to see it going ahead.”
The 25th Annual Charity Check Stop will be on Dec. 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. With lots of blue and red lights flashing, local Mounties, along with many select volunteers and partners, will be set up on Main Street between 48th and 49th avenues.
Donations will be accepted from both eastbound and westbound traffic. Vehicles not wishing to donate may proceed through without difficulties.
Nelson said event partners include the Innisfail Fire Department, Innisfail community peace officers, EMS workers from Medavie West, Bowden Institution correctional officers, and dog handlers from the Police Dog Service Training Centre.
And of course, it’s a good bet Safety Bear will also be there, and maybe Santa as well.
Nelson said they have requested their partners to send just one or two representatives to allow the event to be held with social distancing in mind.
“It’s just for that extra piece of safety over the holidays,” said Nelson, adding that while local Mounties have many partners the annual check stop is their event.
“Sometimes that gets lost, and people think it’s a community check stop. We like to make sure that people understand that this is an RCMP event where we invite our partners to help us with it.”
This year’s annual check stop will once again be accepting new clothing, food, new toys and cash. At the 24th Annual Check Stop in 2019, local Mounties raised $12,279.50 in cash and cheques, as well as six carloads of high-quality toys and gently used clothing items. More than 800 pounds of food were collected and donated to Innisfail and District Food Bank.
“We try to do a little bit better every year if we can,” said Nelson, adding the detachment does not typically set targets for the event. “There are so many factors that go into it, peoples’ abilities given the climate and all that other stuff.”
The charitable organizations that will be the Innisfail RCMP’s choices to support this year are Innisfail and District Food Bank, Innisfail Christmas Bureau, Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre, and Innisfail Youth Positive Assets Coalition.
If any citizen has questions about the planned Dec. 11 annual Charity Check Stop, they can contact Innisfail RCMP or Nelson at 403-227-3342.