A spe­cial Christ­mas ven­ture

Good Shep­herd of­fers do­na­tions for clients at its mar­ket­place

The Hamilton Spectator - - Local - SCOTT GARD­NER sgard­[email protected]­pec.com 905-526-3385 | @Scot­tatthes­pec

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

SCOTT GARD­NER THE HAMILTON SPEC­TA­TOR

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.

SCOTT GARD­NER THE HAMILTON SPEC­TA­TOR

Vol­un­teers Eleanor Petro­vsky, left, and Ber­nice Ja­cobs sort through woolen hats, scarves and mit­tens at the mar­ket­place Fri­day.

SCOTT GARD­NER THE HAMILTON SPEC­TA­TOR

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.

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