Family of 10 Receives Holiday Help at Bissell Centre

Although most people look forward to the holidays, there are many families in our community who struggle to get through them. For many families, Christmas gifts and turkey dinners are an enormous financial stressor, or maybe even a luxury they cannot afford.

Candice and Jeff, who live on a low income while caring for their eight children, two of whom are adopted, know what it’s like to struggle during the holiday season. They moved to Edmonton from Saskatoon 13 years ago after facing threats of violence from Candice’s ex-partner.

Although relieved to find a safe place to call home, Candice and Jeff were suddenly alone and jobless in an unfamiliar city with five children and a baby on the way.

They worried about bringing another baby into the world without the social support they had enjoyed in Saskatoon. Both had plans to find full time work, but knew that working would be difficult while balancing the needs of their growing family.

Finally, an acquaintance of Candice recommended Bissell Centre’s free Childcare program. “I remember coming here and at first being a little cautious. It was a little bit scary,” said Jeff, recalling his first visit to Bissell Centre. “But they always told us what to do and where to go when we needed help.” Since that first visit 13 years ago, Candice and Jeff say that Bissell Centre staff have become “like family” to them.

Candice says that the resources offered by Bissell Centre were invaluable. Over time, they were able to develop a network of friends after attending various Bissell Centre events, including family barbecues and community outings.

“Everything that you need to get done is here. Whether it’s support services, clothing, childcare – everything is here.”

 

Both Candice and Jeff are now planning to pursue higher education: Candice for business administration and Jeff for pastoral leadership. Candice began her full time education in October, and hopes to have her diploma completed in two years.

This Christmas, Candice and Jeff are grateful that they will not have to spend the holidays worrying about being able to afford gifts for their children.

Bissell Centre’s annual Festive Giveaway ensures that children in need receive a hot meal as well as toys, candy, and warm winter clothing for the holidays, all donated by caring members of the community.

Candice and Jeff have attended Festive Giveaway many times since they’ve lived in the city, and plan to go again this year. “It’s a loving, caring atmosphere at Festive Giveaway,” said Candice. “You can feel that.”

It means the world to Candice and Jeff to have gifts to give their children, even during hard times. “Just to have that comfort, and to know that you have something for your child,” said Candice. “It’s the best feeling a parent could feel.”


Two hundred families like Candice and Jeff’s are expected to attend this year’s Festive Giveaway at Bissell Centre. Please help make Christmas a joyful season for families in need.

 

7 Ways to Support Bissell Centre this Holiday Season

With your support this holiday season, we can make a big impact in the lives of people struggling with poverty in our community.

Here are 7 ways you can help!

1. Shop Our Holiday Gift Guide

Choose a meaningful gift from our  Holiday Gift Guide to benefit individuals and families in need. Your gift will make a difference in someone’s life.

Bissell Centre Holiday GIft Guide


2. Have Your Gifts Wrapped in Support of Bissell Centre

Between November 24th and December 24th, for a minimum donation of $2, have your Christmas gifts wrapped at Southgate Centre. All proceeds go to support Bissell Centre’s programs and services.

Gift Wrap for Bissell at Southgate


3. Volunteer with Us—Become a Bissell Elf!

We are looking for volunteers to lend a hand this holiday season. As a “Bissell Elf” you will take part sorting donations, wrapping gifts, serving meals, and spreading good cheer alongside enthusiastic Bissell Elf Captains, who will help lead the way.

Bissell Elf Volunteers


4. Turn Your Christmas Event into a Fundraiser!

This holiday season, when you host a staff event, church gathering, or dinner party, you can also give to people in need. Find everything you need to host a  Bissell Giving Tree Party!

Giving Tree


5. Donate Warm Mitts and Boots

During the cold season, items such as gloves, mitts, and boots are critical to the health and safety of our participants. Unfortunately, the demand outweighs what we have to give. Donate gently used mitts and boots to help someone stay warm this winter.

Donate Warm Winter Clothing


6. Stay Tuned this Giving Tuesday!

Stay tuned for an exciting opportunity to make a huge impact this #GivingTuesday, November 28, 2017!

Bissell's 2017 Christmas Campaign


7. Share and Advocate!

Advocacy in all its forms helps ensure that vulnerable people get the support they need to move from poverty to prosperity. So tell your family, friends, and colleagues about these easy ways to support Bissell Centre this season!