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Community bring Christmas cheer to Teen Haven

Grateful: Teen Haven executive director Michelle Wade, centre, with case worker Zena Francis, left, and support worker Muna Bailey (File photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

A charity that was struggling to survive through the summer now has a bright future, thanks to overwhelming community support.

Teen Haven saw costs rise steeply as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, while a general lack of fundraising activity affected income.

But the charity, which offers shelter, counselling and other services to mothers between the ages of 16 and 25, was hit by a wave of donations in the run-up to Christmas, and now has enough funding to see it through the next few months.

Michelle Wade, Teen Haven executive director, said the organisation had received donations from more than 30 groups, including businesses, churches and individuals. As well as cash donations gifts included grocery store and Belco vouchers, and presents for all the home’s five adult residents and 11 children.

“It really has been overwhelming,” Ms Wade said.

“We were having our Christmas meal recently and, after we said our prayer, one of the girls started crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said: ‘I’m just so grateful and thankful’. We all are.”

Ms Wade said the Christmas boost was even more surprising considering the current economic climate.

“We know, everyone’s been struggling,” she said.

“Government’s struggling, businesses are struggling, people have been losing their jobs, and that’s why it was tough for us during lockdown.

“All our residents were out of work and staying at Teen Haven, which meant our costs were going up – more money on food, more money on electricity.

“And yet there wasn’t any fundraising going on. We really did wonder if we were going to make it to the start of the next financial year.

“And then, since December, we have had so many donations – much more than we normally receive at this time of year.

“We’re trying our best to get these young ladies to become independent so they can raise their children, get off the system, and start giving back to Bermuda.

“It’s wonderful that people look at it that way.”

Ms Wade said the organisation will put more emphasis on fundraising in the new year.

“For now we’re thankful that we haven’t been forgotten. But we’re excited about the future. It’s overwhelming – but in a good way.”

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Published December 28, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 23, 2020 at 9:34 pm)

Community bring Christmas cheer to Teen Haven

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