Emily Poirier, Co-op Student
The Ear Falls Late Bus Committee (also known as “Kids Need a Ride”) has been around for decades, raising money for high school students in Ear Falls to have a taxi or van available to transport them back home from after school activities in Red Lake. It is an entirely private organization, run solely by the parents and students participating in the fundraising, as the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board no longer supports them financially.
According to members of the Committee, not enough people are aware of just how much money is required to run a taxi or bus from Red Lake to Ear Falls. Recent rates state that it can cost between $110 and $210 plus tax (depending on the type of taxi used) on just one round trip between the two towns. Depending on the number of times a late bus is needed, the cost of arranging a late bus can range from about $15,000 to $20,000, if not more, in a school year.
Due to the high cost of running the taxis and buses, most of the Late Bus Committee’s focus is on fundraising. Students hadn’t always been a part of the Committee’s meetings and activities, but when the current heads of the Committee obtained their positions they got their children involved. “It’s a neat way to spend time with your family,” said Donna Coulson, head of the Late Bus Committee.
In the past, the Committee has held bottle drives, anonymous bottle drop-offs, chocolate sales, car washes, and a quilt raffle as well as set out change jars. Members have also received random donations from various people, organizations, and businesses. They are considering having a pancake breakfast sometime in the future.
“We don’t like to just sit with our hands out,” said Coulson at the meeting on November 9, 2011. “We want to give back to the community rather than just receive.”
However, all members of the Ear Falls Late Bus Committee say that the people of Ear Falls and Red Lake are extremely supportive. They express sincere gratitude to all those who have supported the organization over the years. Among those they would like to thank are the Ear Falls Lions, Goldcorp, Hotel 105, Whispering Pines, Mom’s Pantry, Copperfin, and teachers from Red Lake District High School.