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Dec 22, 2009

Ministry of Health feeds homeless in Battlefield Park…

A plate of food might not sound like much of a Christmas gift. But to the homeless mental patients who call the Battlefield Park home, it may be the only decent meal they’ve had in days. Today, the Ministry of Health hosted over a hundred homeless persons to lunch in the park; it was the full Christmas Day treat right down to the black cake for dessert. Nurse Eleanor Bennett is Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner who also wears the hat of Coordinator of Mental Health Services for the Central Health Region. Bennett says the lunch is the ministry’s way of bringing joy to the patients.

Eleanor Bennett, Coord., Mental Health Services, Central Health Region
“Today the Ministry of Health is trying to spread a little Christmas cheer especially for those who are less fortunate like the people with mental illness, particularly those who are homeless and who might not be getting a Christmas lunch this year. So what the ministry has done is sponsor a hundred and fifty lunches for consumers of the Mental Health Services in Central Health Region.”

Delahnie Bain
“Okay, so these are all mental health patients out here today?”

Eleanor Bennett
“For the most part; there are several people who came who I think are homeless but we are not turning anyone away. As long as we have lunches available we will be distributing them.”

Delahnie Bain
“I noticed you have them on a list; but looking at them you wouldn’t think there is anyone helping them. What kind of relationship do you all have with these patients?”

Eleanor Bennett
“We have—because of our new program that we have; it’s called a community treatment program. It’s a very intense program where the staff visits patients at home and on the streets and we maintain very regular contact with these people. We know them very well and they know us very well. Actually we know all of them by their first name so we can easily tell who are patients and who are not. Because of that program, we have a close relationship not only with the patients, but with their families as well.”

Delahnie Bain
“Is this something that you do every year?”

Eleanor Bennett
“This is our third year but this is something that we want to do every year and we want to continue because we realize that these patients might not get a Christmas lunch from anywhere else and despite the mental illness they don’t forget that it’s Christmas, they know that it’s Christmas and it’s just a small part I think that the Ministry of Health is doing just to spread a little bit of happiness during this time for these people.”


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