For the fourth year in a row, clients and staff from Community Resources for Justice’s Community Strategies of Massachusetts division braved frigid weather for long hours to help raise money for the homeless and less fortunate this holiday season.

Staff and clients joined in the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign, ringing bells and collecting contributions outside stores like Walmart and Market Basket, always with a smile and a positive attitude.

The link between Community Strategies and the Salvation Army has evolved and strengthened over time.

“The early times were not so easy,” said Community Strategies’ Shared Living Director Sue Whitney. “There were several hurdles to overcome in establishing a professional relationship between the two agencies. The population that we serve can sometimes lead to society developing a general misconception toward working with people with developmental disabilities.”

People often develop negative views and attitudes toward the population that CRJ serves without seeing what our clients can do. Community Strategies helped its clients to overcome this stigma, by providing support when necessary and encouraging its clients to be active and work in their respective communities. Their success was proven again and again throughout the holidays as most of CRJ’s clients fulfilled their commitment throughout the entire season.

“I liked working as a bell ringer so I can make the money,” said Per H., a resident of CRJ’s Bellingham residence.

Per and his housemate Seth C. demonstrated throughout the holiday season how employment can help improve and shape a person’s confidence and motivation to become an active member of the community.

“I don’t mind working out in the cold as long as I get a paycheck,” said Seth.

CRJ congratulates the Community Strategies clients and staff who made the 2017 holiday season another success story.