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Stressful experience prompts Truro woman to create Comfort Caddies

Brandy White came up with the idea of putting together Comfort Caddies. They’ve been provided to local organizations where many of the people who come in will be under stress.
Brandy White came up with the idea of putting together Comfort Caddies. They’ve been provided to local organizations where many of the people who come in will be under stress. - Lynn Curwin
TRURO, N.S. —

When she was in prison Brandy White learned how much value could be found in small things. She’s now used her knowledge to help others who find themselves in stressful situations.

“I was incarcerated at the Nova Institute, and you have to take programming within your first week,” she said. “I was new to the correctional system and I was a wreck, but when I went in for programming there was a little basket on the table and it had things like hand cream and stress balls in it.

“When go in there you don’t have nice hand cream so the first thing you do is put the hand cream on and it immediately starts conversation and relaxes you; it relaxed me anyway. When I started working with the Elizabeth Fry Society, on the Abundance program, I wanted to have something like that incorporated into it.”

She took the idea to Kristen McCallum, project facilitator at the Truro Program Centre, and Stephanie Atwood, founder and executive director of ElevateHER, and they, along with Rising Youth, worked to get a grant that would provide funds for supplies.

Baskets were filled with items like stress balls, yarn and knitting needles, lotion, fidget spinners, colouring pages and books. They were presented to 14 local organizations where people coming in for services are likely to feel anxious.

Julia Brine, who runs Connect the Dots, a youth program around sexual orientation and gender identity, at the Sackville library, has been using similar baskets.

“This is my godsend in that program,” she said. “Without that gear I don’t think we would have the turnout we do.”

White is hoping the items will help many people around Truro.

“I’m excited that the idea went so far,” she said. “I think everyone’s goal is for participants to get the best out of our services, and it something as simple as this can help, it’s great.”

Organizations presented with Comfort Caddies:

Truro Program Centre

Archway Counselling Association

Maggie's Place Family Resource Centre

Colchester Sexual Assault Centre

Truro Inclusion Project

Millbrook Family Healing Centre

The Lotus Centre

Northern Healthy Connections

Bridges Institute

Autism NS- Truro Chapter

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Colchester

John Howard Society- Truro Chapter

Truro NSCC Mindfulness Centre

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