Gear shortage has North End after-school program calling for stick, skate donations
Ralph Brown Community Centre draws about 50 skaters of all ages every day and needs help, volunteer says
A Winnipeg community club that gets kids active and on the ice after school is calling on the public for donations of hockey gear to keep the program going.
Ralph Brown Community Centre in the North End fills up with kids every day after 3 p.m. when school lets out, said volunteer Nathan Wild.
Wild said the centre already has a rink up and running. What it really needs is more skates, sticks and helmets — and not just for kids.
"We serve the whole community, not just children, so we have people of all ages," said Wild, noting parents or older siblings will accompany young ones and want to lace up and skate, too.
Some people come with their own equipment, but many don't have any. The centre has skates on hand, Wild said, but not enough to keep with the demand.
"We have some skates at the centre now but there's always circumstances where we're turning people away."
Larger sizes of skates needed
Wild said a community organization generously donated a bunch of skates about six years ago, though many pairs have worn down since then.
They need skates of all sizes but there's a particular shortage on larger sizes, said Wild. The centre is also short on sticks and helmets, the latter of which is requirement in order to hit the ice at Ralph Brown.
The community centre is open weekdays between 3:30 and 6 p.m. On an average day, Wild guesses upwards of 50 people come through to play a game of shinny or skate around.
Anyone who wants to donate new or used gear can do so when the centre is open or call ahead to arrange another drop-off time, said Wild.
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With files from Avi Jacob