Crime Stoppers thrilled by Safeway partnership

Local Canada Safeway staff last week chose Fort Frances Crime Stoppers as their charity for 2004-05, with the fundraising focus to be on buying playground equipment for local parks.
Fort Frances OPP Cst. Caroline Spencer, who sits on the Crime Stoppers board, couldn’t be happier.
“It’s going to be a great thing for Crime Stoppers and a great thing for the community,” she said Tuesday.
The proposal from Crime Stoppers stated funds raised through the partnership with Safeway would be used to purchase playground equipment for parks on Phair Avenue, Front Street, Lillie Avenue, and Pither’s Point.
The local Crime Stoppers board previously had expressed concern that the town—in an effort to become compliant with the Canadian Standards Association’s “Children’s Playspaces and Equipment Standard”—removed all equipment from the Phair Avenue park back in July.
The Front Street, Lillie Avenue, and Pither’s Point parks also had some of their playground equipment removed over the summer.
Cst. Spencer noted that the lack of parks is a safety concern from Crime Stoppers’ point-of-view, in that neighbourhoods which have no parks equals children playing in the streets.
“Our intention with our long-term plan is to get equipment for all the parks,” she noted.
Crime Stoppers has no illusions over to how much it will cost to achieve their goal. Cst. Spencer said research has revealed a swing set could cost as much as $25,000.
But besides any money raised with Safeway, the group also has asked the town to consider playground equipment in its 2005 budget. As well, it applied to the Moffat Family Fund for a share of the $50,000 to the town will receive from the fund this year.
Cst. Spencer noted the partnership with Safeway also will be good to get Crime Stoppers’ message out and raise the organization’s profile.
“With Crime Stoppers, you don’t always see the results [of the fundraising],” she admitted, referring to the fact Crime Stoppers usually aims to raise funds to be used as “tip money” to help solve crimes.
“In this case, we’re clearly working to build a better community,” she added.
The positive community response to the playground equipment issue, and the past success of events like this past spring’s “Bail or Jail,” has made Cst. Spencer confident of the fundraising ahead.
“It should be an interesting year ahead,” echoed Safeway employee Vilma Valenzuela, who heads up fundraising for the local store.
She noted Crime Stoppers drew a significant share of the votes from staff, who had the chance to look over all 10 applicants leading up to last Wednesday, when the ballots were tallied.
Valenzuela said she was looking forward to the new partnership and noted fundraising will start as early as next month, with dress-down and “top up” days in the works as well as raffles.
Since first adopting charities in 1998, local Safeway employees have helped raise money for the Riverside Foundation for Health Care, Friends of the Library, Fort Frances Friends of Animals, the “Community Chest,” and the Kiwanis skate park.