Cypress Hills Ability Centres Inc. (CHACI) was the beneficiary of an extremely generous donation by Affinity Credit Union.
Local credit union officials recently announced that it was donating $60,000 to CHACI through its Community Funding Program. The money will be used to cover the full cost of purchasing a passenger van for the local facility.
“We are very grateful and honoured for this generous donation,” said CHACI CEO Phyllis Edginton. “We can’t say enough about how much we appreciate this help from Affinity. We never dreamed we would be the recipient of this kind of donation – not in our wildest dreams.”
CHACI is looking for a van that will provide the local agency with quick and easy access for a wide range of transportation needs.
The group does have access to the Shaunavon Van for the Disabled, which provides transportation within the community to anyone who is disabled – but that vehicle is owned by the Town of Shaunavon.
“It (the Shaunavon Van for the Disabled) certainly provides an important service for us and we are fortunate to have it here,” said Edgington. “But we would also like to have something that is a little more accessible for the entire agency at all times of day. We need something that is safe and reliable for out of town transportation.”
Edgington says that CHACI is becoming more and more of a regional entity and it relies on support and involvement from communities throughout the region.
The new van would be used for a wide variety of functions and events, from medical appointments and job placements to recreational activities.
Ideally, CHACI would like to acquire a vehicle that can carry at least eight passengers and has all-weather capabilities.
Members of Affinity’s Local District Council received a request for funding from CHACI last year and were immediately drawn to the cause.
In fact, council members were so taken by the project that they decided to fund the entire purchase.
CHACI does no longer have access to government vehicles for this type of transportation need and government funding is no longer available for this type of vehicle purchase.
“We saw a real need there and we wanted to make a significant contribution,” said Linda Kutschall, Chair of the Local District Council. “We realized that this wasn’t something that would necessarily be an easy fundraising project. It would probably take many, many years to raise the money they needed for the van.”
Kutschall also noted that there was an emotional connection to the project. Affinity Credit Union (previously Shaunavon Credit Union) was the long-time employer of Maggie Rea, a well-known CHACI participant, who passed away suddenly in 2015.
“Maggie Rea was such as big part of the Credit Union for so many years,” said Kutschall.
In fact, Maggie Rea was the first CHACI participant ever hired through the agency’s Community Employment Program. She worked at the Credit Union for almost 20 years.
“Maggie Rea was woven into the fabric of the whole community,” said Edgington. “We still miss her.”
Cypress Hills Ability Centres Inc. provides services for individuals with disabilities to develop as participatory citizens. Subscribing to the standards of professional excellence and integrity, they have developed this event to increase the confidence of CHACI participants while promoting their talents with fundraising efforts.
Affinity has made some significant financial donations to a variety of local organizations over the past year. Among those receiving funds have been the Shaunavon Volunteer Fire Department ($15,000), Grand Coteau Centre ($10,000 towards the restoration of the Shaunavon Cenotaph), Shaunavon Food Bank ($6,000) and the Shaunavon Early Learning Centre ($10,000).