Hasenack Place tenant plans to ‘leave community better than it was when she got there’
Chrissy Nolan, a resident at Hasenack Place said it was a bit of a culture shock when she moved to 345 Lebreton Street. She had lived in Constance Bay for 10 years and was used to a small-town feel where everyone knows their neighbours.
“The first few years I lived here, the landscape inside and outside needed a great deal of help. I thought I could either be down about it, or do something,” Chrissy said.
If you spend five minutes with Chrissy, you can immediately tell she is the “do something,” type of person.
“I just want to leave the community better than it was when I got here,” Chrissy said.
She started working on the building from the outside in. First, it was planting colourful flowers and grass on the front lawn. Her hope was to lift residents’ spirits by creating a more welcoming front entrance.
Next, her plan to connect with her neighbours was with food. She started making pizzas for the other residents for a low price of $10 for a medium. The cost is just to pay for the ingredients.
“It’s really expensive to order delivery, but everyone should have Friday night pizza,” Chrissy said.
Things started to kick into high gear when Chrissy reached out to Community Developer Guy Marcoux.
“I bounce ideas off him and he always encourages me to go for it and supports me,” Chrissy said. “I could have all the ideas in the world, but none of them would come to fruition without the supportive, caring staff at OCH.”
This year, Guy helped Chrissy complete an application for a Community Capital Fund grant that helped buy a new coffee urn, a counter and kitchen island for the kitchen in the building’s lounge – and a much-needed air conditioner. Tenants raised $200 of the cost through a BBQ fundraiser.
She also worked with the Volunteer Engagement Program to get raised planter beds for the building’s rooftop in June. The raised garden beds were installed by a group of volunteers from Frito Lay. In the two garden plots – shared by four tenants – tomatoes, green peppers, carrots, radishes, eggplant, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, summer squash, cucumbers and herbs were grown. At the end of the summer, residents held a rooftop harvest dinner with produce from the garden.
The Canada Lands Corporation, who owns the property next door, wanted to develop a new 13-storey building that would put the four-storey Hasenack Place in its shadow. OCH residents were not invited to any of the planning meetings until Chrissy stepped in and opened up a dialogue. Now the plans are changing and residents have a voice.
The new equipment in the lounge kitchen will help Chrissy prepare larger holiday meals. She made 25 meals this Thanksgiving and delivered them door to door. She plans to host a Christmas dinner too.
Last year Chrissy started soliciting donations from local businesses and collected more than 200 gifts for the residents. “When I moved here it made me sad to see how isolated some people were, with no one to lean on,” Chrissy said. “No one should ever feel alone, everyone should feel loved and cared for.”