The multicolored piñata swings wildly, it’s unruly path decided by the thwack of a stick. The other children wait excitedly, hopeful for either their turn or the piñata’s demise.
“We had the hardest time figuring out where to hang it, we spent, honestly like 25 minutes discussing where to hang it,” said Lorraine Gibson, executive director of Fieldstone Commons Care Community in Scarborough. Eventually they had someone hold the piñata on a stick. “The kids went nuts for it!”
The piñata was one of many surprises brought to Julliette’s Place, a shelter for abused women and their children, by Fieldstone Commons this past holiday season. On top of a homemade meal, team members from Fieldstone Commons also bought gifts for all of the children and gift cards for the mothers.
At the time, there were 12 women and 17 children under the age of 15 staying at Julliette’s Place. Fieldstone Commons assigned each of their home areas, which have about 15-20 team members, two or three children to buy gifts for. Lorraine said she’d had no idea what anyone else had bought for the children until they started opening gifts.
“Oh my, they bought so much stuff for them it was unbelievable,” Lorraine said. One eight-year-old, gift in hand, asked her if there was a possibility he had gotten a car. Lorraine told him probably not, only to be surprised when he opened it.
“[The car] was about 3-feet long,” Lorraine said. “He went crazy.”
One girl got a small flute, which she did not stop playing, Lorraine said. Other gifts included a snowsuit, craft supplies, dolls, games, and video games.
“The moms were just so overwhelmed, so thankful,” Lorraine said.
During the four-hour party, team members from Fieldstone Commons discovered that one of the mothers was currently in school to become a personal support worker (PSW). They got her contact information for when she finishes school, and Lorraine said that one of their current team members is in touch with her quite frequently.
The idea for giving back to a shelter came up after a regularly-scheduled meeting. Lorraine said she presented the idea of helping out a women’s shelter to the Work-Life Committee, and they ran with it.
“We’ll do much more of it this year, and we’ll involve more residents and families, because they just loved it,” Lorraine said, adding that they had more team member engagement at this event than at any other.