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Health Clinic Goes Extra Mile For Clients


This Clinic is in Fredericton, New Brunswick Canada, which is about an hour or an hour an a half from where I live in Maine.

By Adam Bowe

December 22, 2008 Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada – People go to the Community Health Clinic on Brunswick Street for help with all sorts of health problems and sometimes they even find a touch of the Christmas spirit.

Staff members spend long days he;ping people who live on the streets or counselling patients through a battle with addiction.

Employees distribute methadone to chronic pain patients, help people find a hot shower or a place to do their laundry and talk them through the difficult days.

But nurse Tracey Rickards said they’ve also found the time to put together some baskets for clients who could use a special Christmas gift.

Rickards said the clinic’s employees and nursing students chipped in to buy some supplies and the group started to put packages together.

“I’m not sure how it started, but it just seemed like the right thing to be doing at Christmas time,” she said.

“We have a lot of clients who have little or nothing and it just seemed to be a simple thing to do – to give them enough to make a decent Christmas dinner.”

“A few treats like a box of chocolates and a turkey. Fruit juice. Some little things that go a long way.”

Rickards said the baskets also include things such as warm clothing, fresh socks, deodorant or other personal hygiene products.

She said the clinic gets community donations and that helps reach even more clients.

“We have about 13 or 14 different baskets that we do up – some for single people, some for families,” she said.

“We’ve done some of our own baking here to get some fresh goods into the baskets. Any donations that we get, we divide up.”

Office assistant Julie Verner, who helps prepare the baskets, said it makes the staff feel good to brighten up a person’s season.

“Words can’t describe the feeling these people have when they get this stuff,” she said.

“A nice pair of warm socks or something good to eat means a lot to someone who’s living out on the street, or in a room and can’t afford to buy groceries. It’s really a nice thing that we can do for people.”

The clinic always accepts donations of food or clothing because the need remains long after the holiday season has come to an end.

But for now, Rickards said, the clinic’s employees will keep looking after their patients and spreading the Christmas cheer.

“We’ve got one couple who have a 14-year-old daughter who actually moved from Saint John to Fredericton so she could get on the methadone program,” she said.

“They’ve done so well. Every day they eke out an existence and their daughter goes to school and she’s been flourishing in school.”

“This year we gave them a basket and they weren’t expecting it. They were so thrilled,” she said.

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