Mackenzie Alderson* is passionate about giving back to her community, not just because she believes in contributing, but also because she knows what it’s like to need a helping hand.
“We all do our best to raise our families and sometimes things spiral and you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she says.
Mackenzie had heard about the Family and Community Resource Centre but didn’t think she was going to need it. But when she felt like she had hit rock bottom in 2017, she decided to go.
“The team at the Resource Centre really made you feel like it’s ok – [hard times] happen to many, many people. My resource worker was wonderful – she made me feel welcome and worthy. I walked in feeling defeated and left feeling enlightened and encouraged.”
One of the programs that Mackenzie was able to access was the Backpack Program – free school supplies for students of any age. When she brought two backpacks full of supplies home, her kids were delighted.
“They were grateful and excited. They didn’t ask any questions, they just embraced me, which warmed my heart since it had been a rough month.”
In addition to the backpacks, the Resource Centre provided Mackenzie with gift cards to get the rest of the school supplies her kids would need.
“They love school so they knew what they would need. Although it made me laugh when my oldest picked out a geometry set and then my youngest wanted one too when she just needs crayons right now.”
Now one year later, things are looking up for Mackenzie and she’s made it her mantra to give back whenever she can. That includes donating jackets to the Jacket Racket program and volunteering.
To those that are thinking of donating, Mackenzie has some advice: “One little donation can go a long way and can really give a helping hand to somebody. It can change somebody’s life – so why wouldn’t you?”
Backpacks and gift cards can be donated at City Hall. For more information and to access the program, visit www.chestermere.ca/backpackprogram or call 403-207-7079.
*Name has been changed for privacy.