Volunteer shutterbugs snap newcomers
Flashes were popping and faces smiling as the Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre hosted a free family portrait session Saturday.
Medical students at the MacHealth DNA student clinic came up with the idea of the family day, which is held the third Saturday of each month.
The majority of families who use the health centre are from marginalized communities, who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity for portraits, said Christine MacCauley, one of the co-directors of the student clinic.
“When their priority is ‘where is my next meal coming from?’ — they don’t really think about luxuries like a family portrait,” MacCauley added.
Many of the families who booked a portrait session were newcomers, including several Syrian families who have been in Canada for less than a week.
“We were so happy to be able to offer them that gift and that opportunity to welcome them to the Hamilton community,” MacCauley said.
While waiting for their photos, the families were able to attend workshops on oral hygiene, check their blood pressure and grab a meal.
Each participant also received a gift bag of oral hygiene products, including dental floss and toothpaste donated by local dentists.
The event was volunteer run and organized.
MacCauley and nine other medical student volunteers kept the portrait sessions and activities running smoothly, while local photographers Bert Pierre and Kamila Kuzmicka donated their time to take the family snaps.
The team managed to photograph and print 17 portraits Saturday.
MacCauley said the production would not have been possible without the help of the Hamilton branch of MD Financial Management, a company that specializes in providing financial planning for physicians, which donated the funds to purchase the photographic paper, ink cartridges and frames for the portraits.
A family with their children in traditional Albanian dress pose for Kamila Kuzmicka at the Urban Core Community Health Centre Saturday. See more portraits and video of the family photo session at thespec.com