I had the opportunity to speak with Nichelle, from The Bissell Centre in Edmonton, and she opened my eyes to a whole other sections of services which the Bissell provides to clients. It’s one that hits close to home for me, having 2 young children, plus a background in Early Childhood Education, and know how important early learning and intervention is.
What got to me the most was that they are providing these amazing services to families in need, and are currently at an emergency level because they don’t have enough formula to feed little ones that one in!
Please read below more about the amazing programs and services Bissell offers for families in need, and make sure you stop by the Babytime Event at West Edmonton Mall this coming Thursday, April 28th, from 10am-Noon with a formula or $ donation!
From Nichelle Bryant, gift-In-Kind Donation Coordinator at the Bissell Centre:
Our Family Support Services staff members provide information and resources to families working to raise healthy, happy children. Many families we serve are coping with issues associated with poverty, isolation and lack of extended family or other supports. Engaging with our Family Support staff members gives parents an opportunity to talk and work through issues.
We offer parenting classes, Health-for-Two (pre-natal care), collective kitchen opportunities, women’s lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays, advocacy services and referral information to enhance resiliency and social supports in families and community.
Family Support Services staff delivering these services work closely with Early Childhood Development Program staff to support families. Often families are able to receive diapers, formula, and baby layettes when they are in financial crisis or distress.
Early Childhood Development:
We support low-income families by providing them with free temporary childcare for newborns to children six years of age. Ours is a fully accredited and licensed centre allowing children to play and learn in a safe, supportive, educational environment, giving parents time to access other services, interview for a job or attend appointments.
Many impoverished parents who rely on our childcare facility must often make the hard decision between purchasing food and paying rent. The growth and development of children can become compromised when they do not have enough food to eat, which can lead to underdeveloped cognitive, behavioural, and social skills, further entrenching a disadvantage for those who are poor.
Our Early Childhood Development program provides healthy, nutritious meals that are vital to the work done in assisting these children and their families overcome barriers. Children are provided with a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and a snack every day to ensure that they do not go hungry or are malnourished, which is vital to the health and wellbeing of the children in our childcare.
Formula can be expensive and is often a luxury for lower-income families who use our services. As such, it is one of the items we run out of most often and can be very difficult for us to get in through donations.