Local non-profit Bridges To Hope aims to raise $20,000 to bring smiles and warm hearts at Christmas with their Miracle on Cookstown Road Campaign
The holidays are upon us, the perpetual season of giving. It’s a time for food, family and friendship. Though for many among us, some of those things are hard to come by.
Bridges To Hope, a local non-profit in St. John’s, knows the harsh realities of the situations of many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians more than most.
Lending a Hand
With a mandate for lending a hand to those suffering from a variety of circumstances in life and helping them move forward, Bridges To Hope aids in the assistance of over 10,000 individuals annually. Their Miracle on Cookstown Road Campaign is their latest initiative, at a time where many are at their most vulnerable.
Manger of Bridges To Hope Jody Williams knows the struggle.
“It’s a matter of dignity. I grew up poor,” he shares candidly. “When I grew up we used to buy recess, I think it was 30 cents or something, but it was always done and out in the open. If you didn’t have the money it was done and done in front of everyone and I never had recess money. I would go to the bathroom, and when they were eating recess I’d kind of disappear. To me, there’s something about being able to haul out the same kind of food as the other kids and eat in front of them.”
From their food pantry to their community kitchen, volunteer programs and community outreach initiatives including their essential smart snack program for children, Bridges To Hope aims to restore more than just economic pitfalls.
Their Miracle on Cookstown Road aims to raise $20,000 to help brighten the spirits of those in need at a time where commercialism and the glitz and glam of Christmas are at an all-time high. No donation is too small, Williams notes.
“People say, ‘well I only have 20 dollars. “That 20 dollars is 20 cans of milk in the food bank world. That’s a lot. A little goes a long way.”
Williams notes that an estimated 70 per cent of donations occur between Thanksgiving and Christmas – a likely byproduct of the elevated spirit of giving that surround the holidays. He urges donors to recognize that the need to give is all year long, and not just reserved for selective dates on a calender.
“Once Christmas is over we’re forgotten about. I don’t know what happens during Christmas, people get this spirit of giving. But I wish we could spread it out throughout the year somehow.”
And while food donations are welcomed and encouraged, monetary donations go a long way in ensuring the growth of the organizations, and the lasting impact to those who avail of its essential services here at home.
“The best way to help us is to donate money, because I can turn your dollar into two,” Williams explains. “I have relationships with wholesalers and I’m not paying what you’re paying for a can of milk.”
From the efforts of Williams, a dedicated host of volunteers, and the generous public, Bridges To Hope continue to uplift and inspire. Simple gifts of kindness, above all else, go a long way.
“The miracle that I see here everyday is kindness really,” Williams. “There’s two things I see here – one is sadness when I see the clients –but the other thing I see is the 40 volunteers, the people walking in off the street giving cheques. Everyday there is someone dropping off food, so I wanted to focus on that.”
For more on Bridges To Hope email [email protected], visit bridgestohope.ca/miracle or call 709-722-9225. Bridges To Hope will be present at the St. John’s Farmers Market every Wednesday and Saturday leading up to Christmas, accepting monetary and food donations.