In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bianca Montaleone and a few friends knew they wanted to do something to help support those in need during the holidays. As a devout supporter of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Windsor-Essex County Branch (CMHA-WECB), Bianca and her husband Dr. Pat Montaleone, along with their children and several friends, invited their networks to donate clothing, toiletries, toys and other items to be given out to CMHA-WECB clients that might be needing a little extra help that year. The fundraising drive was a great success, and so they repeated it again for Christmas 2021.
While making an impact during the holidays was a wonderful thing to do, Bianca wanted to do more. The couple approached CMHA-WECB to establish a “Comfort Closet”, a space that could house needed items throughout the year. Thanks to their generous monthly gift, the Comfort Closet is available to CMHA-WECB clients via their case worker to access toiletries, clothing, non-perishable food items and gift cards.
“We are happy to support CMHA-WECB and the community in a small way. Everyday essentials are needed daily not just at the holidays. It is important for us to give back and pave the way for our children”, stated Mrs. Montaleone.
The Comfort Closet is part of CMHA-WECB’s Client Assistance Fund, a fund that was established more than 5 years ago to help clients during times of financial need. Up to $250 per client per year is available to assist with transportation to appointments, grocery cards, unexpected expenses and other items. Since its inception, the fund has provided more than $67,000 to clients.
“We can’t thank the Montaleone’s enough for their generosity, the impact of which is felt by our clients on a daily basis”, stated Dr. Sonja Grbevski, CEO, CMHA-WECB.