Community rallies around 600 employees laid-off before Christmas

Basketball team stands around boxes of food
by Maritime
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The residents of Sydney, Cape Breton were shocked, when less than a month before Christmas, it was announced that ServiCom, a call centre employing more than 600 people, would be shutting down.  This news left people reeling as they tried to figure out what that meant for the many residents who were suddenly without jobs, as well as the community as a whole.

It is in the midst of dark times, that a community shows their true spirit.  It was with perseverance and strength that Cape Breton began an outpouring of support to buoy up their friends, neighbors and even strangers.

The Salvation Army opened their doors, and put out the call, asking the people of Cape Breton for their help.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all employees of Servicom at this time. The Salvation Army and the people of Cape Breton will rise to the occasion and help bring hope and comfort to those who need it,” says Major Corey Vincent, Corps Officer of Sydney Community Church. “By giving to the kettle campaign or donating online, we can provide Christmas for these families, as well as assist with groceries, heat and other needs.”

Group of Sobeys employees smile in front of boxes
Sobey’s donated all the food and turkeys for the Christmas food hampers

And the people of Cape Breton answered that call.  Over $80,000 was raised over the next month, specifically for the ServiCom employees.  The Salvation Army got to work, calling every employee to asses individual needs and ways in which to help.  They worked with many community partners who were working for the same cause, to get residents through a tough Christmas season, but also to continue to support them on their journey as needs for food, prescription re-fills and other bills arose. 

While the former ServiCom call centre did re-open in January as the new Sydney Call Centre, there are still many people in need of help, who are unable to bridge the financial gap of being unemployed for the last month.

“This is not a week-long process,” says Vincent. “ We’re in this for the long-haul. We put funds towards Christmas to make sure families were comfortable, and now we’re looking to how we can help them in the future.”