Chartwell and Kanata Food Cupboard work together to spread holiday cheer

The holidays are a time for family bonding, fun activities and helping others. Chartwell Kanata Retirement Residence has always made each of these values a priority among their residents. In the past, they’ve helped the local Kanata Food Cupboard raise money for their efforts, and last year alone, raised $900 for the charity. This coming holiday season, the residence will be doing things a little differently and are working with the Cupboard’s “Adopt a Family in Need” program.

“One of our dietary servers adopts a family from the Kanata Food Cupboard every year,” said Tanya Barker-Dowe, General Manager at Chartwell Kanata. “She brought the idea forward to us at one of our meetings to see if we would be interested in doing this for 2014. The Kanata Food Cupboard is very important to our community – but we loved the idea of adopting a family over the holiday season to make their Christmas that much more special.”

About the program
Staff and residents at Chartwell Kanata will be raising money to help their adopted family—a young single mother with three little girls aged seven, two and one—enjoy their Christmas. In addition to direct contributions, staff will be charged $2 to wear jeans every Friday leading up to the event, and donations will be accepted through December 6. Staff members will use all of the money raised to shop for the family according to the girls’ wish lists, which consist of classic children’s toys like My Little Pony and Barbies, and gift cards for groceries and clothing will also be purchased for the mother. On December 8, residents and staff will work together to wrap everything and prepare them for the holiday.

The idea to adopt a family was brought up to the residents in their monthly Town Hall meeting, and it was also featured in the residence’s Christmas Gala invite to residents and families. The initiative was well-received by everyone involved, and residents immediately became excited for the opportunity to help support a family’s holiday.

“Our residents are so caring and giving that they have fully-embraced the idea,” said Barker-Dowe. “Knowing that we will be providing this family with a full Christmas meal for them to make in their home and gifts for the girls is what Christmas is all about. They love the fact that we are making a family’s life better by providing them with a Christmas to remember.”

In addition to the gifts, the money raised will go toward all of the fixings for a hearty Christmas dinner that the family can prepare at home. Many of the residents are also knitting mittens, hats and socks to give as presents.

Other holiday activities
That’s not all that Chartwell Kanata is doing to celebrate the holidays. On December 11, they’ll also be holding their second annual “Cookie Contest,” where residents, family members and staff are invited to bake their favourite cookies. Participating residents will be able to bake their batch in the residence’s brand new country kitchen. Each recipe will be judged by lucky community partners in the local catchment area. The winning recipe will be the residence’s 2015 signature cookie, which will be used at all special residential and marketing events, as well as in gift baskets for local fire departments and police stations.