COVID-19: Regional EMS Foundation launches alternative to food donations

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The Regional EMS Society has launched a care initiative to encourage monetary donations instead of food items that will no longer be accepted. The society, as well as the Talk to Me Society will both match any and all donations from the community up to the first $1,000 Graeme Bruce / Daily Herald-Tribune

In response to direction from Alberta Health Services (AHS) to stop accepting food donations at all AHS facilities, the Regional EMS Foundation has launched a new initiative for donated care packages.

The restriction on food donations is a measure to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“We are extremely grateful and thankful for companies and individuals who are offering food to our frontline staff. It’s very heartening to know that Albertans have our backs, just as we have theirs. But we have to ensure we are doing all we can to protect both our staff, and our patients. So, we are saying no to food donations,” stated AHS.

The Regional EMS Foundation began the EMS Care Initiative Tuesday as a resource to continue to accept monetary donations. Non-perishable food items are being encouraged for donation to local food banks as an alternative.

The EMS Care Initiative is able to accept gift card donations of any denomination, as well as any monetary donations from the community either made in person or online.

In-person drop off locations include Canadian Tire Customer Service, or any of the five New Horizon Gas Stations in Grande Prairie.

“I think because of the perishable issue and having the EMS station on lockdown, it was becoming a bit of an issue for them to accept donations and things with the community,” said Amanda Frayn, executive director of the Regional EMS Foundation, regarding the start-up of the new program.

“EMS had reached out to us and said, ‘Can you help us with this situation?’ and so with them and us and our board and just discussing how best we could manage some sort of donation process, this is what came through.”

Parallel to donations made through the program, the Regional EMS Foundation and the Talk to Me Society have both committed to match all donations up to a total of $1,000.

Although the program has only just launched, Frayn said she is highly optimistic in the generosity of the community to reach that benchmark goal.

“I’d love to go back to all of (our) partners and say, ‘We’ve reached our goal and let’s do more,’” said Frayn.

“That would be our short-sighted goal, and you know, as a long-sighted goal it will be nice to just always be looking at supporting our community. If we continue to have an EMS peer initiative that’s maybe more passive but still is a place for people to say, ‘Thanks so much for this,’ that’s going to be a really nice thing in the long-run.”

As stated via the program release, email donations can be made to accounting@remsfoundation.org and should be specified as intended for the EMS Care Initiative.

Tax receipts will also be granted for donations above $20 and only upon request. The Regional EMS Foundation is requesting donors to include their name, address and contact number with their donation.

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