This year our community rallied together to support Christie and our families in some pretty incredible ways!
Our year started with the same shock as everyone else:
“It was a Wednesday in March 2020 when we realized that everything we do at Christie had to change because a new unknown danger was stalking us: COVID-19. We had a special challenge because people live with us: mothers, children, families. We had to adapt quickly.”
At the heart of Christie isn’t a set of programs or a building … at our heart is a special culture of service. Our staff go the extra mile to serve clients, offering tailor-made solutions that work with the distinctive needs of each family. We don’t have to do that: we want to do that.
We knew our organizational culture was the greatest resource we had to not just survive the COVID-19 pandemic, but to serve well in the midst of it. We used this culture to devise an approach to the pandemic which we captured as ‘Clean Hands, Clear Heads, Open Hearts’. This helped us to welcome a total of 88 clients to our shelter, offer 13 different workshops to more than 100 participants, and provide 390 clients with post shelter support throughout the year.
Our 2020 Annual Report celebrates what we were able to achieve and to overcome, as well as the incredible ways YOU, our community, have stepped up to help us during a difficult year that brought many new, unanticipated, and evolving challenges. The Report shines a spotlight on three stories we think are pretty amazing – one being the story of Christie neighbour and board member, Taya Cook, which we thought we’d share with you today.
Coming Together in New Ways: A Grocery Gift Card Drive
Last December Taya Cook decided to challenge her network to help her raise $5,000 through a grocery gift card drive.
During the pandemic, many of our clients experienced extreme hardship through loss of jobs, medical issues, and barriers to basic needs and support services. “Having the ability to support clients during these difficult times with grocery gift cards has been a tremendous help to staff and a relief to families that have recently moved out of the shelter. We have had clients express great relief by sending emails of gratitude and calling to thank staff,” Christie Manager, Kerri Sylvester, shared.
As we could not carry out our normal holiday traditions, gift cards for places like Walmart offered a unique and special gift – the gift of options. Families could make the choice for themselves whether to buy groceries, winter boots, or special gifts.
Taya ended up far surpassing her original goal. Together, with the 76 individuals who contributed, she was able to raise an incredible $9,000! Donations came from her friends, family, coworkers, fellow parents, and neighbourhood networks. One friend got extra creative and offered to cook a free dinner to any of his clients who donated $100. She also inspired one friend, Irene Kim, to hold her own gift card drive which raised an impressive $5,000.
“I’m really happy with how many people got involved and hopefully also took some time to learn more about Christie. Hopefully we can do it again next year” – Taya Cook