District spreads Christmas...
District spreads Christmas cheer at meet and greet
BRACEBRIDGE - Celebrations continued at the Bracebridge Employment office despite slippery roads on Wednesday.
District staff and social assistance recipients socialized over a hot meal at a meet-and-greet event on Dec. 12 organized by the District of Muskoka each year to recognize the hard work of the Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) recipients in looking for jobs. The event is also designed to create a bit of cheer for recipients during a time that is not cheerful for everyone.
District staff, recipients, and volunteers laughed together over meatballs and marshmallow squares, worked together on crafts, and were entertained with live music. Some recipients at the event said it will be the only celebration they have during this time of year.
Dianne Willcock, an Ontario Works recipient, said her Christmas frame of mind is “bah-humbug.”
She moved to Bracebridge last February and landed a job with a cleaning company in May that she said promised to be permanent position. It was later changed to a seasonal position.
By October she was laid off.
“I lost my job and I’m probably going to lose my apartment and everything that goes along with that,” she said.
Although she has younger children still living in Ontario with their father, she’s considering moving back to Prince Edward Island where her family and her older children live.
“I have nothing here now since losing my job,” she said.
Amber Boucher said she started coming to the event last year with her young daughter after she and her partner split up.
“It’s a nice get-together. We don’t have any other Christmas parties to go to, so it’s nice to have,” she said.
Boucher is hoping to move forward with her life when she starts school in January for early childhood education by distance education through Loyalist College.
Richard Defoe has been attending the event for the past five years after he ended up on disability following a nervous breakdown.
“Every year it’s the same here, they just put a big spread out for everybody,” he said. “It’s amazing.”