Ontario Works recipients saw a different side of those who dole out their money each month at a meet-and-greet held in Gravenhurst on Wednesday.
Dave Demery, Ron Johnson, and Ken Crick take the opportunity to socialize at a Meet and Greet event for Ontario Works and Ontario Disability recipients on Dec. 6 in Gravenhurst.
Photo by Jennifer Bowman
On Dec. 6, the District of Muskoka’s office in Gravenhurst was overflowing with people working on crafts, looking through clothing from the coat drive, and lounging and chatting with each other while district staff served food.
Live music filled the air as staff and social assistance recipients bonded over a turkey dinner prepared by Impact Muskoka, a group of Ontario Works recipients who work together to provide food for those who are more in need than they are.
Heather Elliot, community engagement co-ordinator for the District of Muskoka, worked with Impact Muskoka to prepare the elaborate meal.
They cooked all day yesterday and today at the Independent, then brought it all over in Crock-Pots, Elliot said.
The district hosts the event for Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support recipients each year to provide them an opportunity to mix and mingle with staff in a different environment.
It gives people a different perspective of staff, Elliot said, with the desk removed, and the paperwork removed.
Cheryl Patchett said the program began four years ago to bring people together “in a time that isn’t always happy for everyone.”
Their clients have worked hard at employment, so it’s a time to celebrate, Patchett said.
Happiness was evident on the smiles of toddlers’ faces and through the cheerful goodbyes that were waved at the door by the recipients to staff and others.
Everyone from infants to high school students to grandparents relaxed and enjoyed the atmosphere.
Each person also received a gift bought and wrapped by the district.
On Dec. 12, there will be a meet-and-greet for recipients in Bracebridge from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Oliver’s on Manitoba Street.