After a hiatus, Welcome Wagon has returned to Castlegar and the area. Amber Harper started the free greeting service up again and is happy to bring the famous baskets to newcomers as well as new mothers.
“I started putting the program together in September,” she said. “The program had been down for about a year. I’ve gone out to all the businesses and got sponsorship, talked to the Chamber of Commerce, the city, CBAL, Kootenay Family Place, and got everyone on board to share information about their services. Especially for newcomers, it’s really helpful.”
The Welcome Wagon program has been around since 1930 and helps families going through lifestyle changes adjust to their new setting with a friendly visit.
Any new residents or new mothers, or anyone who knows anyone who is, can contact Harper at 250-365-0640.
“It’s all through word of mouth,” she said. “Say you have a new neighbour move in. You can give me a call and let me know.”
In the newcomer’s basket, Harper has information about the city and all the different services offered such as recreation, shopping and even a letter from the mayor welcoming you to the city.
“I also have several gifts and goodies from local merchants,” she said. “It’s a really nice basket that I show up with.”
The new mother’s basket is for moms with babies up to six months and includes information from public health, breast feeding information, and information from Kootenay Family Place on different services which are available.
“That one’s geared towards new moms and also includes gifts and goodies from local stores,” said Harper. “It’s a great way to get to know all the different businesses that we have in town.”
Now that she has all the groundwork finished, Harper is eager to get out and meet with newcomers and new moms and welcome them to our fair city.
“It’s been a bit of a process to make sure I had all the right supplies to get going,” she said. “But come January I’m really hoping to hit the pavement and meet as many people as I can. It’s been a bit of a challenge for me learning how to get myself out there – because it is all word of mouth – and educate people that it is a free service and I bring all sorts of awesome things.”