Catholic teachers, 100 Women Who Care make holiday donations

Donations from St. Clair OECTA memebers for the Chatham-Kent's Women's Centre. (Photo submitted by OECTA)

Christmas will be a little brighter for women and youth in Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton thanks to a pair of recent donations.

The St. Clair units of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) recently donated $17,500 worth of Christmas presents to the Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre and the Women’s Interval Home of Sarnia Lambton.

“The presents donated by our local Catholic teachers and education workers will provide some joy and happiness to those in need,” said Alicia Blair, Youth and Child Programs Counsellor at the Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre.

The members, who are Catholic teachers and education workers from the St. Clair Catholic District School Board, raised the money by participating in a week-long fundraising event.

“Our teachers support families in need at Christmas every year, but this year we heard many more stories about additional needs, likely due to the pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Wayne Bechard, President of the local OECTA St. Clair Elementary Unit.” We reached out to our local women’s shelters, and it was a perfect fit.”

On the final day of fundraising, everyone was encouraged to wear purple in support of the shelters’ Shine a Light on Woman Abuse campaign.

“At first, we were hoping to raise just a few thousand dollars from our own teacher-members, but the kindness and generosity started to snowball and took off and we got support from every employee group across the board – for example, our custodians, educational assistants, librarians, social workers, and administrators – they were all in,” said co-organizer, Chad Coene, President of the Secondary Teachers’ Unit. “It was a great team effort, and we were overwhelmed by the total raised. It was way beyond what we were hoping for.”

In a separate fundraiser, 100 Women Who Care Chatham-Kent made a $12,025 donation to The Blenheim Youth Centre.

Their next meeting is in February 2022 and will be held online. New members are welcome to join and you can find more info by clicking here.