Every year in October, Gambling Awareness Week is held to raise awareness around the impact of problem gambling and available supports in British Columbia.
This year in Cranbrook the BC Responsible and Problem Gambling Program in conjunction with the Gambling Awareness Week Initiative is sponsoring a free community barbecue on Saturday, October 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or until supplies last) in the Western Financial Place parking lot.
Michelle Shewell supports people that are affected by gambling and works with the BC Responsible and Problem Gambling program by providing outreach and support to those dealing with gambling issues and their families in the Kootenay Region.
Shewell explained that the focus of the event is to raise awareness and provide information on resources that are available for those seeking guidance around gambling.
“We strive to have a healthy community by providing outreach, support and offering connections for those who want to achieve their goals related to problem gambling,” Shewell explained. “This is a free event is sponsored by the Gambling Awareness Week initiative and the BC program. Come on down to the Western Financial Place parking lot for a free meal and swag bag.”
Due to COVID-19, the event offers a walking lane and a drive-through lane and does not encourage people to mingle with their food.
“There won’t be any place to sit and mingle; we ask that anyone coming through the barbecue continue on afterwards,” Shewell said. “We will also have volunteers helping to ensure that there is six feet of distance between everyone as well as hand sanitizing stations.”
She says hot dogs and burgers will be served by Sinclair’s Catering, a food truck that has been inspected by Interior Health. The food will be available on a first-come first-serve basis.
“This year online gambling has increased exponentially, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began,” Shewell said. “In every region across BC, including Cranbrook, there are free resources available for those who wish to utilize them. This includes free counselling for gamblers or their loved ones.”
Shewell adds that anyone who wants to find out more about available resources can call the Gambling Support Line at 1-888-795-6111. They will be directed to Shewell if they live in the Kootenay Region and she will be able to guide them through their options.
“I provide outreach, advice and guidance on the programs available, counselling or alternative supports in the area, and how to help you achieve your goals. Whether people want to quit altogether or just figure out their goals, we are here to help,” she explained. “There are all kinds of resources available including online information, workshops and programs for people of all ages.”
For more information on the BC Responsible and Problem Gambling Program gambling support in British Columbia visit the website at www.bcresponsiblegambling.ca.
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