May 27, 2019
It is impossible to know what it’s like to experience homelessness unless you have been there. No place to stay, nowhere to keep your belongings and no sofa or bed to lay your head on at the end of a hard day. Now imagine all the uncertainty and stress of homelessness as a family.
This is where Children’s Cottage Society is helping. The organization’s ‘Brenda’s House’ provides a safe place for families to stay when they have nowhere else to go. It’s part of their overall work to build strong families through support services, respite programs and crisis nurseries.
Over the past two years, Co-op has partnered with Children’s Cottage Society to help feed those living at Brenda’s House, providing funds to buy groceries for nearly 150 children and their family members.
“We use these funds to provide families with three meals a day; breakfast, lunch and dinner, and most often we’re using that money for things like fresh produce and meat,” explains Elisha Jackson, Fund Development Manager, Children’s Cottage Society. “We also provide lunches that kids can take to school or that parents can take to work.”
Brenda’s House has 14 rooms available for families with children under 18 that are homeless and have nowhere else to turn. While a safe place to sleep is a welcome respite, it’s only part of what some of the families accessing Children’s Cottage facilities need. Staff there help guests create and manage a plan to get permanent, affordable housing, and connect them to the resources they need. Living at Brenda’s House means they also don’t have to worry about things like where the next meal might come from.
“We know how important nutrition and healthy food is, particularly for children,” says Penney McTaggart-Cowan, Vice President of Marketing and Member Experiences at Calgary Co-op. “Being able to help ease the minds of families in need by ensuring they can eat well while they’re getting back on their feet is so important to us here at Co-op. It’s just one of the ways we’re helping in the community.”
“It’s absolutely huge for the organization,” says Jackson. “Fundraising for food is a huge part of what we need, so someone coming in and contributing $25,000, as Co-op has done the past two years, helps us so much. It’s a pretty big chunk of our food budget for Brenda’s House, so we’re very grateful to Co-op for what they’re doing to help us.”
Brenda’s house resident Kim, sums up her feelings about this community partnership, “Thank you so much Co-op for providing delicious, nutritious food for me and my family.”
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