The Southern Plains Co-op, along with the Federated Co-op recently held a fundraiser with some of the funds going in support of the Casey Foundation. Based out of Regina, the Casey Foundation is a charity that helps families who are living in Saskatchewan that have a child that is diagnosed with autism.
"Families in Saskatchewan have a lot of out of pocket costs," explains Alexis Cuthbert, founder of the Casey Foundation. "There aren't enough supports and programs available and when they do get something a lot of times, they're having to pay for it out of their own pocket."
"And so the Casey Foundation is a charity that works completely with volunteers, so the money raised is coming from fundraisers and from donations and that money is going directly back out to families that apply for something that they're having to pay for that is helping their child. Some type of a treatment, program for their child that has autism."
She adds that unlike other government run programs, they do not have restrictions to where they can put the money.
"Each family knows what helps each child and each family is able to apply for what they think is best in helping their own individual child. Because each child is so different. We're not like government agencies where we're restricted to what we can fund. If you think something nutritional is helping your child, great. If somebody else thinks occupational therapy is helping their child, great. Whatever is benefiting that individual child."
And the need is only growing.
"We have, in the past years, has over 300 applications each year and it continues to rise. This past year we've had a dramatic increase, we had about 50 applications each month now so I know that we will be closer to 500 by the time the end of the year comes. Unfortunately there are more children being diagnosed with autism than all the other childhood disorders and diseases combined. The rate they're saying right now, is one in 68 children."
"I would love to be able to give out more money to each family. What we are able to give out is a small amount compared to what they're having to pay for giving their child as many opportunities and benefits as they can to reach their fullest potential. And in order to stay fair, we have a maximum that we can give out o each family so that everyone is receiving an equal amount. Last year we gave out over $130,000 and we still can't get to where we are giving out more money to each family who desperately need it."
"So therefore, the more fundraiser we have, the more money we're able to give out and as the increased amounts of people are applying, at least we'll be able to keep it at the amount that we're at now and hopefully increase that."
Cuthbert acknowledged all the support from everyone who filled their gas tanks to help contribute to their work.
"We're just very thankful to the Co-op, the southern plains and the Federated co-op for their wonderful fundraising idea. Anybody is able to make a donation to the Casey Foundation at any time on our website. We are a registered charity so any donation over $10, we are able to give you a tax receipt."
Photo courtesy thecaseyfoundation.org