By Carla Howatt
With the hot sun beating down, a band playing summer tunes and children shrieking with joy in the bouncy castle, it’s hard to give much thought to winter coats, but that’s exactly what was on the hearts and minds of many people at Saturday’s 2011 Sherwood Park Appetite event at Kaska Plaza.
Admission to the event was either a donation to the Strathcona County Food Bank or a winter coat to help clothe the homeless in Edmonton. For that price, attendees were able to enjoy seven bands that took to the stage between 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. or purchase tickets and sample food from the various booths manned by Sherwood Park restaurants.
The event, which was the brainchild of Terrell Edwards and his REACH Mission Foundation, is an effort to answer the question he feels many people are asking themselves “I want to help, but where do I start?”
“We want to give people an opportunity to start right here,” Edwards says. “You can come out and give a coat, or you can volunteer your services.”
He points out that it took more than 75 volunteers to set up booths, tables, awnings, a stage and the sound system.
“Reach Mission Foundation is an effort to get people to engage in things like poverty relief, there are so many things going on in the world with catastrophes and we look at it and we wonder what we can do,” Edwards explains. “Well, it just so happens there is poverty here too.”
According to Edwards, there are 3,500 homeless people on the streets of Edmonton and 250 are reported to be children. He is inspired by the words he heard from an incoming president at an International Rotary meeting “its not the noise of the bad, it is the silence of the good that is the problem in our world.”
The Reach Mission Foundation and the Rotary Club of Sherwood Park Centennial are the co-hosts for Sherwood Park Appetite and planning for next year’s event will begin again in a couple of months. Edwards says if anyone is interested in helping out, they can contact REACH at email@example.com or their website at www.sherwoodparkappetite.ca.