(Community Works is a monthly column highlighting business involvement in community and charitable programs.)
There are some people you just can’t put a name to. Sometimes it’s not a memory challenge, but an issue of privacy.
It well may be someone you recognize. Someone with a teenager who just can’t seem to manage in the system. People with little children who occasionally need a little help managing themselves. They are all people who are benefiting from fund-raisers this month at Oxford Properties retail centres in Calgary and Edmonton, and they will all remain anonymous.
Such need not be the case for their benefactors.
Thursday, Nov. 14, Calgary Eaton Centre/TD Square/Scotia Centre present “Mistletoe and Martinis” – Calgary’s premiere holiday fashion cocktail gala. For that evening, the Jack Singer Concert Hall sets the scene for music by the Dino Martinis and holiday fashion show by Mode Models.
“This is a unique event, kicking off the Christmas season,” says Lori Cunningham, of Eaton Centre/TD Square/Scotia Centre. “We wanted to give something back to the community at the same time.”
Key to the wellbeing of that community is Wood’s Homes.
Often seen as a place of last resort, Wood’s serves some of Canada’s most difficult children. Through residential, educational and community outreach programs (such as the Eastside and Westside Family Centres), Wood’s sees more than 450 young people or their families every day.
“We never give up on kids,” says Bill Roberts, executive director of the Wood’s Homes Foundation. “No child will be abandoned; you can’t get kicked out of Wood’s. We offer children a future, and their families hope.”
Helping kids and their families is also the intention of the Christmas gift-wrapping service at Edmonton City Centre. Launching Nov. 15, proceeds from the service support the Kid’s Kottage crisis nursery.
“We think (Kid’s Kottage) is so important – we’re happy to be on board during the Christmas season,” says Greg Burns, retail marketing manager for Edmonton City Centre. As part of the gift-wrapping service, the centre offers soft seating, water coolers and coat and parcel checks. The focus for both organizations is stress relief.
“They provide a safe haven for families – we try to provide a safe haven for shoppers.”
Pam Miller, executive director of Kid’s Kottage, knows the pre-Christmas season can be a time of particular stress for families.
“We often deal with families that have huge poverty issues. Parents always want to bless their children – Christmas just adds to the frustration they feel. That’s why it’s so important for us to be there for them.”
Miller notes that Edmonton City Centre has a generous history with Kid’s Kottage.
“For five years, they virtually gave us office space in Merrill Lynch Tower. And the coat check launches our Pledge Day campaign – which cumulates with our Radiothon at Edmonton City Centre on Dec. 12.”
It’s often said that Christmas is for kids. However, in at least two ways this month, it’s also for their parents. Whether it’s respite or rescue, it’s important to know there’s some place to turn.
“We want to help parents sleep at night,” says Roberts. Maybe tonight it’ll be someone you know.
For tickets to Mistletoe & Martinis, call Wood’s Homes at 403-264-6722.To pledge for Kid’s Kottage, call 780-448-2545.
* Festival of Trees, Nov. 29-Dec. 1, Telus Convention Centre, Calgary.
* Airdrie Festival of Lights, Nov. 29-Jan. 3, Nose Creek Park.
* Christmas Bureau Show, Dec. 1, Edmonton Public Library (downtown).
(Karen Ritchie hosts the Community File on QR77 Radio. Send your corporate/ community event to info@ rprmedia.com)