Christmas came early for Causeway Work Centre clients when they all got grocery store gift cards at Causeway’s annual client holiday party last month. Normally, it is not in the budget to give a gift to each client, but these gift cards were made possible thanks to a special donation.
Kristine Stevenson, a Public Safety Canada employee, was tasked with choosing a charity to be the recipient of a $450 donation that was pooled together by members of the Public Safety National Executive Committee. She chose to donate to Causeway because she wanted the donation to go to a local organization that helped vulnerable Ottawa residents.
“[Causeway’s] work to assist and support individuals with mental health issues find meaningful employment in the community is truly inspiring,” said Ms. Stevenson. “Their development of social enterprises is ground-breaking and innovative.”
Causeway’s annual client holiday party had all the usual staples: a delicious hot meal for every client, raffle baskets topped up with goodies, and staff dressed in ridiculous holiday-themed clothing.
Many clients who attended the party could not afford a holiday feast otherwise, but Ms. Stevenson recognized another reason that gatherings like the client holiday party are important — it gives people a sense of belonging and community.
“That relationship of trust is central to their success when helping individuals with mental health issues find and maintain employment,” Ms. Stevenson said.
Excitement buzzed as the clients lined up to receive their surprise gift card toward the end of the party.
Ms. Stevenson, who had volunteered all morning to help prepare the holiday meal, stood at the head of the line and helped to hand out the gifts. It was truly a moment to smile about.