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Donation to New Hope ensures accessibility

Stright-MacKay recently donated a new van to be used for transporting clients to and from New Hope. From left, Peter Bennett, Michelle Ferris and Susan Fraser of New Hope, and volunteer van drivers Marc Comeau and Dean Roop
Stright-MacKay recently donated a new van to be used for transporting clients to and from New Hope. From left, Peter Bennett, Michelle Ferris and Susan Fraser of New Hope, and volunteer van drivers Marc Comeau and Dean Roop - Contributed

Through a donation to the Aberdeen Health Foundation, Stright-MacKay made the purchase of a new passenger van a reality for New Hope.
The outpatient program is for people living with mental illness and provides a positive environment for building relationships, support networks, and community connections.
This isn’t the first time the New Glasgow company has made such a donation. In 2005, New Hope identified the essential role a van could play in serving clients. Stright-MacKay saw the potential as well, and donated funds to purchase the van. For 13 years, clients were transported to and from programs, appointments, and activities. In 2018, it was time for a replacement and once again, the company stepped up.
While the original van sported the Stright-MacKay logo, in the true spirit of philanthropy, the corporate decal was dropped when company president Peter Bennett learned it was not in the best interests of passengers.
“Clients at New Hope suggested that a plain white van would help reduce stigma and encourage participation,” said Bennett. “It was great input and we certainly took it to heart.”
The van allows clients to attend New Hope regularly and gives them the ability to engage with all aspects of our community, enhancing their lives and the ability to meet their goals.
The entire team at New Hope expressed their gratitude.
“By foregoing well-deserved recognition,” noted Michelle Ferris, Aberdeen Health Foundation executive director, “Peter continues to demonstrate remarkable leadership in support of mental health programs.”
The Bennett family members have long been donors and supporters of the Aberdeen Health Foundation. In 2006, the Foundation’s Sandbar Mental Health Endowment was established through a gift from Peter’s parents, Richard and Nancy. The endowment is used to fund mental health programs, education, and outreach services in Pictou County.
New Hope is a regular recipient of Sandbar funding. This year, funds were used to expand programs that help build skills, develop healthy routines, and strengthen social networks and personal resilience.

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