Santa under the bridge
Our first project was the making of hand-knitted Diversity Scarves which could be donated to persons in recovery from addictions. These scarves are knitted from 3 different colors of yarn, often from odds and ends and discarded bundles of wool which, when combined, became a creation of beauty and warmth. Each scarf is unique and can be worn by any gender, from any fellowship, thereby symbolizing that although we are each unique, our diversity only enhances our beauty.
Winters in our communities can be harsh, and even more so for those who wander the streets looking for shelter from the storms. So, a committee of volunteer knitters was formed. In 2013, during the months of November and December, they were able to knit approximately 40 scarves. Eleven of these scarves were donated as Christmas gifts to the clients of Marguerite Center, a longterm facility for women in recovery from addictions and abuse. Sixteen scarves were donated to Direction 180, a community outreach service in Halifax for methadone clients. The remaining scarves were donated to two 12-step events that are held on Christmas Eve. These last two donations included gifts for children as well.
The project was dubbed Santa Under The Bridge and would become an annual event. In March of 2014, we received some media attention for our project. With a combination of donations from concerned members of the community, several fundraising events held by our society and by friends of our society (2 CAV and Abenaki Aquatic Club), and partially funded by a grant from the Dartmouth Community Health Board, this year's event was much larger. When completed, we had donated our gift packs to 15 organizations in HRM. The total number of individuals helped was 190.
During the early weeks of December, volunteers from our Board of Directors dressed up as Santa's Elves and delivered these gifts. As you can see by the accompanying photos, we had a wonderful time doing so.
In early 2015, we broadened our mission statement to include persons in recovery from addictions, abuse, and homelessness. We are also aware that mental illness is a co-occurring factor in addiction recovery and therefore we also offer assistance to community groups that offer support and assistance in that area.
Our project for 2015 was sponsored by the Abenaki Aquatic Club, the Dartmouth Community Health Board, and Doctors NS. The 2017 project was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Dartmouth Community Health Board. Our 2019 project is funded in part by Dartmouth Community Health and Nova Scotia Health Authority.
Our newest fundraising project is the Jelly Fish Baby Project. Our volunteers hand knit the cutest little jellyfish creatures. They cost 3 dollars to make. We sell them $4 and $8 dollars, depending on size. Most of that goes back into our other projects and one dollar from each is donated to selected organizations. In the months of August and September, we donated a total of $84 to Feed Nova Scotia. That way we were able to help an additional 120 people.
The Jelly Fish Babies
Our most recent endeavor, which began a few months ago and became an official project on September 17, 2018, is the Afghan Project.