Community Gives Sobering Message with ‘Sticker Shock’ Event
April 22, 2016
by Kaela Law
“Buyer Beware,” reads stickers placed across labels for beer, wine and liquor bottles at various stores around Pelham. “Providing alcohol to minors is a criminal offense.”
The Pelham Community Coalition, a group of Pelham residents that are working to educate the community and spread awareness about drugs and alcohol, helped coordinate a “sticker shock” event.
Eight of the 15 stores in town that sell alcohol participated in the event. A few of the bigger chains would have liked to participate but had corporate restrictions.
Joy Flanders, representative of the Community Coalition, spearheaded the event. “I thought it was a great way to get the kids involved and it was very proactive,” explained Flanders. “We got permission from the store owners to place the stickers that we received from the state license commissioner.”
Another sticker read: “Thank you for keeping our kids alcohol free. Keep this product secure in your home, remove it altogether if you’re going away, and don’t even consider buying this for a minor. Remember … providing alcohol to a minor is a crime. Punishable by fines up to $2,000 and up to one year in jail.”
“Pelham students, parents and members of the Pelham Police Department gathered on Saturday, April 16 in an effort to send a strong message to the public about underage drinking,” stated Chief of Police Joseph A. Roark.
The students met at 9:30 a.m. at the middle school, composed ‘thank you’ letters to the participating stores, as well as to the police officers who accompanied them, and then broke into three separate groups to head out to the stores.
“The children and police officers stuck the stickers onto the cases of beer,” and according to Flanders, “We didn’t even have enough stickers. The kids loved the activity! We are going to regroup on May 1st to reflect on the process and to see what we can do better next time.” The group is planning another event, and although a date has not yet been set, the students were commenting that a Friday night “when (customers) come over from Massachusetts,” would be a more productive time to raise awareness with sticker and flier messaging.
Flanders was on-hand to offer the children, ranging in age from 10 to 16, assistance with contacting the stores and police department, but really wanted this event to be student driven. The idea came about after a survey in town revealed just how easy it was for minors to get a hold of alcohol.
“It was alarming to us that the high school students felt it was extremely easy to get someone to buy (alcohol) for them,” Flanders said.
The Pelham Community Coalition is a group of individuals seeking to inform, empower and activate members of the Pelham community in regard to substance abuse. They believe through education and dedication they can help assure that the youth will be able to realize their full potential.
In a continued effort the Pelham Community Coalition is also helping to fight the war on opioids. They hosted a Pelham Substance Misuse Summit for the public on Thursday, April 2 at the Sherburne Hall, 6 Village Green in Pelham.