Through a donation to the Aberdeen Health Foundation, Stright-MacKay made the purchase of a new passenger van a reality for an important group in Pictou County. And it was not the first time. New Hope, an outpatient program for people living with mental illness, provides a positive environment for building relationships, support networks, and community connections. In 2005, New Hope identified the essential role a van could play in serving clients. Stright-MacKay saw the potential as well and immediately donated the funds to purchase the van. For thirteen years, clients were transported to and from programs, appointments, and activities. In 2018, it was time for a replacement and once again, the company stepped up.
The entire team at New Hope expressed their gratitude. “As nurses who have the privilege of working alongside our clients every day, we are thrilled to have a world of accessibility open to them. This generous donation allows them to attend New Hope regularly and gives them the ability to engage with all aspects of our community. This enhances their lives and ability to meet their goals .We are so grateful to Stright-MacKay for providing this support and bringing these opportunities to us.’’
No doubt, seeing the Stright-MacKay logo on the van brought a measure of pride. In the true spirit of philanthropy, however, the corporate decal was left at the curb when company President, Peter Bennett learned it was not in the best interest of the passengers. “Clients at New Hope suggested that a plain white van would help reduce stigma and encourage participation,” said Bennett. “It was great input and we certainly took it to heart.”
“By foregoing well-deserved recognition,” noted Michelle Ferris, Aberdeen Health Foundation Executive Director, “Peter continues to demonstrated remarkable leadership in support of mental health programs.” The Bennett family members have long been wonderful donors and supporters. In 2006, the Foundation’s Sandbar Mental Health Endowment was established through a gift from Peter’s parents, Richard and Nancy. The endowment is used to fund mental health programs, education, and outreach services in Pictou County. New Hope is a regular recipient of Sandbar funding. This year, funds were used to expand programs that help build skills, develop healthy routines, and strengthen social networks and personal resilience.
This is one of the many good news stories featured in the Aberdeen Health Foundation’s Report to Community, which is arriving in mailboxes now. This and other stories will be celebrated at the Foundation’s Annual General Meeting on February 28th. The event begins at 6:30 pm in the Aberdeen Hospital Boardroom. This year’s guest speaker will be Nicole LeBlanc, Project Navigator for Healthy Pictou County. In her presentation “Putting out the Welcome Mat”, Nicole will speak about ways you can support the attraction and retention of medical staff and students in Pictou County. Everyone is welcome.