Elise Pape, from ARI’s offices in Mississauga, Canada (think Toronto), filled me in on two different holiday stories – 1700 miles apart — emanating from our snowy neighbor to the north.
The first comes from Western Canada near Calgary, where seven struggling families in Coventry Hills had a very merry Christmas after their community rallied together to give them much needed holiday cheer. Todd Wallace, an Account Manager at ARI’s Calgary office, lead the effort after reading a post from a young mother on his community’s Facebook group. She had asked for her neighbors’ help to access Christmas resources, and foresaw a very bleak holiday for her and her young son.
After he saw this plea for help, Todd started to plan what he dubbed “Christmas in Coventry.” The town-wide initiative was aimed to help this mother and other area families who were struggling during the holidays. The results were stunning: As a community, they collected piles of toys, goods and food; raised over $3,000 in three weeks on their GoFundMe page; and the local bar, The Brewhouse, raised an additional $1,400 to the cause.
Todd says he foresees that even more people could be helped in the future. “I was so impressed with our community,” said Wallace. “They responded to the rallying cry, and the many little things done by lots of people have made a huge difference to families who needed help this season.”
And the mom who started it all? “I’ve shed lots of tears over this,” she says. “I’m hugely thankful.”
Meanwhile, at the Mississauga TRC, Kathi Adamo and Mike Bujold headed what is now a traditional holiday effort to help the children of St. Leonard’s Place. The Peel, Ontario non-profit provides support for adults who have significant mental-health and substance-abuse problems. The children in these families rarely have the opportunity for what we might call a “normal” Christmas, and so this year – as in the past — the technicians at the TRC rallied together to ensure that 21 children from St. Leonard’s Place received Christmas gifts. The effort is called “Christmas Angels”, and mirrors a program that exists at ARI’s Texas call centers. Bujold noted that this was the most children the Mississauga TRC had ever “adopted”, with kids ranging in age from one to fourteen.
As in the past, the undertaking was a great success. In an email to his fellow employees, Mike says, “Together we raised a total of $640.00 and each child was delivered a gift… Each of you made a memorable Christmas for 21 grateful children, and I know we made Christmas even more memorable for the children’s parents.”