Co-op installs machines for direct donations to mental health

Tiptap signs have been distributed to Co-op locations in Medicine Hat, Redcliff, Dunmore, Taber, Oyen, and Brooks.NEWS PHOTO KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

By KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Canadian Mental Health Association Alberta Southeast Region and South Country Co-op are teaming up to support local mental health initiatives through the ‘Share the Wealth for Mental Health’ contact-less pay campaign.

Shoppers at Co-op locations throughout the southeast region of the province are invited to take part in the campaign by tapping Interac or credit cards on specially-marked ‘Share the wealth for mental health’ tiptap machines, which will wirelessly transfer $2 from the account associated with the card to the campaign.

“It’s a campaign to support mental wellness in our communities in the southeast region,” Sandra Milne, executive director of CMHA ASER, told the News. “You just tap your card, watch the green lights go all the way up, it goes ‘Ding!’ and that’s $2 out of your bank account and to us.”

The machines were financed by a donor, so all funds generated by such will go toward local mental health programs.

“We do suicide prevention programs, we run recovery college, we have lived-experience people who work (who can) speak to people who are in crisis or are going through stressful times, we get out to all of our small businesses or large businesses to support people who are working with them … We have the Keep-in-Touch program, where we partner a volunteer with someone in the community who’s feeling isolated and they talk for an hour once a week, just as a check-in (and to) have that real connection,” Milne said.

Carmen Hudson, director of marketing and community relations with South Country Co-op, was glad to partner with CMHA for the initiative, as she believes mental health programs are an important part of community health.

“Throughout the pandemic, mental health (including) the importance of taking care of your mental health and recognizing mental health struggles in people around you, has become more and more evident,” Hudson said. “As an organization, (South Country Co-op is) really large and diverse and it’s something, I think, most of (our staff) feel very passionate about. We want to eliminate the stigma of mental health and proudly support an organization which truly supports every single one of us.”

Hudson encourages Co-op shoppers in Medicine Hat, Brooks, Oyen and throughout the counties of Cypress and Forty-Mile to seek out the tiptaps, which are often located near checkouts.

“Pop in to a gas bar, liquor store, food store, any one of our locations and use your credit card or bank card (to give) $2,” said Hudson. “It’s just so easy. Every $2 adds up to research and support for those who really, truly need assistance in their journey to find health and wellness.”

This item is reprinted with permission from Medicine Hat News, Medicine Hat, Alberta. See article HERE.

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