Initiative aims to help homeless eat throughout winter

Initiative aims to help homeless eat throughout winter

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Gift cards rest attached to a measuring tape for the Yards of Cards campaign. It was developed by Hennig as a means to feed the homeless and rooted in her prior years as she once lived in her car, too.

Evan J. Pretzer

Shey Hennig is someone who previously did not have it all and because of that knows the importance of giving back to those still without.

The Stony Plain resident has lived in the Tri-Region since 1996. She runs her own business – a branch of Primerica, Inc. – that provides financial services in Spruce Grove and was previously troubled to the point that her automobile was her primary place of residence. After bouncing back, she began making sure others had a coach in their corner for monetary matters and is the brainchild behind the Yards of Cards initiative that is now running at area businesses like Romantic Notions which seeks to feed the homeless as the weather gets cooler.

“You cannot expect to receive if you are not also willing to give what you have,” Hennig said. “This came out of when I learned about three weeks ago that an unsheltered group exists here. I was devastated. So I got a hold of some folks with the Tri-Region Pay Forward Kindness Society and asked if I could donate clothes and they told me that with COVID-19 that meals are difficult so restaurant cards are priority now.”

Her campaign distributes measuring tapes to those interested in hosting one in a public place. Those wanting to donate can then come in and add a $10 or $15 gift card for places like McDonalds and Safeway and then once there is about a yard worth, they are collected and donated to the society to give to those most in need. Former society board member Jan Gillett added that the concept had a deeper meaning because of Hennig’s background and said that it was something that people would still likely support at a high level even though the province is struggling with the dual ills of an economy that has not recovered from low oil prices and the ongoing global pandemic.

“The community here is and has always been generous,” Gillett said. “I know that there are a lot of people struggling here. No matter the struggles this community faces, people always look out for one another. We always find a way and this is one of the things that shows that.”

Hennig wants to keep doing what she is for as long as possible. It is not something she looks for a traditional metric of success in and, ultimately, at the end of the day, will be happy if just one person mired in the dark can step into the warm light of a space for hot food.

“If you get even just five cards out there to me that is what matters,” she said. “My whole life really has gone into others. I have done charity work; tons of speaking engagements and I have always believed that if you can touch even a few you have made a difference. One meal is what is important when I look back at this later on after the winter season has finished and most of the initial cards have been claimed.

If you would like a yard to put cards on please contact Hennig via 587-286-4204.

epretzer@postmedia.com

twitter.com/EvanJPretzer





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