A special Christmas venture
Good Shepherd offers donations for clients at its marketplace
The Good Shepherd’s Venture Centre was bustling with activity Friday morning as the social services provider opened its Christmas Marketplace for another season.
The Venture Centre, which opened in 2014, is located at 155 Cannon St., E. It operates five days a week all year long. It gives clients a chance to wander aisles stocked with donated food, clothing and small household items, just like if they were in a grocery store.
“Something as simple as pushing a cart makes people feel like they’re anybody else in the community,” said Alan Whittle, director of community and government relations with Good Shepherd.
“It makes them feel like they’re actually at a grocery store and there’s some dignity involved in that.”
Until Dec. 21, the centre takes on a Christmas theme by adding toys for children, more warm clothing and a selection of fresh proteins. “At Christmas, we try and do it special,” Whittle said.
During this period, the centre will serve 2,418 area families comprised of 2,300 adults and 4,400 children. Whittle said the operation is dependent on the 1,000 volunteers who help out during the season.
Good Shepherd hosts other programs at this time of year, including a Christmas dinner at the Hamilton Convention Centre on Dec. 16.
Bernice Jacobs, who has been volunteering her time for 35 years, is particularly fond of the Christmas programs. “To see the children come and get their gifts is something special.”
Nicole, who has two young children, said she is very thankful for the assistance she receives from Good Shepherd.
“I’m very blessed because I have two young kids, so I know they’re going to wake up on Christmas and have a gift and food on the table,” she said. “It’s very helpful at this time of year.”
‘‘ Something as simple as pushing a cart makes people feel like they’re anybody else in the community. ALAN WHITTLE
Waleed Taher is all smiles as volunteers help him and his family shop at the Good Shepherd's Christmas Marketplace at the charity's Venture Centre on Cannon Street East Friday.
Volunteers Eleanor Petrovsky, left, and Bernice Jacobs sort through woolen hats, scarves and mittens at the marketplace Friday.
Hayat Mohammed chooses a toy for her son as husband Waleed Taher looks on. During the holiday season, the centre will serve 2, 418 area families . The operation depends on the services of its many volunteers.