PJs and Caring

Annual PJ Drive brings home generosity and warmth for kids.

Members of The Manitoba Chiropractors Association – 41 offices – collected over 2700 pairs of PJs as part of their annual PJ drive for United Way agencies.

The PJs were sorted and packaged last week for delivery to about 40 different agencies to help stuff stockings this holiday season.

Students from Asper School of Business' Team Toba sorted PJs into age groups.

Students from Asper School of Business’ Team Toba sorted PJs into age groups.

Volunteers from the Asper School of Business (Team Toba – JDC West) and GenNext members did two United Way Days of Caring to sort and organize the PJs for delivery.

Members of United Way’s GenNext Council also showed up on a cold night to sort and package the warm PJs for kids. It brought back happy memories for some of them.

GenNexters sort and package PJs for United Way agencies.

GenNexters sort and package PJs for United Way agencies.

“A bunch of us were talking about getting new pajamas as kids every Christmas and how nice that was. There are some families who can’t afford that,” said Diana King, chair of Community Involvement on the GenNext Council.

“And they’re all new, and some are even hand-made.”

PJs bagged and labelled for delivery to United Way agency partners.

PJs bagged and labelled for delivery to United Way agency partners.

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The drive is over now for another year, but there are still lots of opportunities for groups looking to help out in the community.

To give back through a collection drive or United Way Day of Caring contact Melissa at mburgess@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca or 204-924-4273.

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Caring about kids

Community effort brings new shed for daycare at PFSS

Thanks to the generous help of United Way Day of Caring volunteers, the daycare at Pregnancy & Family Support Services (PFSS) has a new shed for their toys and supplies.

The shed was a true community effort by several groups. Manitoba Public Insurance and National Leasing led the initial planning and construction of the shed, which was donated by McMunn and Yates Building Supplies. Volunteers from Home Depot joined the effort to complete the shed this past June.

National Leasing volunteers in full framing mode.

National Leasing volunteers in full framing mode.

“It’s awesome,” said PFSS executive director Rhonda Cenerini.

“Having all our stuff in there, having a place to put everything…it’s safe and our toys will last longer.”

Rhonda said it was cumbersome for staff to lug things in and out of their building when their kids played outside. Now everything’s more accessible to staff and kids, which improves the daycare experience.

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Home Depot volunteers hard at work.

In their July newsletter PFSS writes, “It was really fun for the children to watch the men work. One of the children shouted out ‘be careful’ when one of the workers was on the roof of the shed. It was so sweet when the volunteer yelled back ‘I will thanks!’ What a great sense of community.”

PFSS, a United Way agency partner, is a neighbourhood family centre that provides respite daycare, family counselling, parenting classes, and operates a thrift shop. They’ve been serving people in their West End community since 1973.

Learn more about hosting or volunteering for a United Way Day of caring online.

National Leasing's crew framed for a perfect picture.

National Leasing’s crew framed for a perfect picture.

The Home Depot volunteer team stands in front of the finished shed.

The Home Depot volunteer team stands in front of the finished shed.

 

10 years of Caring

Women get a special day at NorWest Co-op Community Health.

The 10th anniversary of the Women’s Day of Caring at NorWest Co-op Community Health’s resource centre on Alexander Ave. was hosted by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) on Tuesday.

SuperFUNtasticEvent provided photos to each of the ladies with their fresh cuts.

SuperFUNtasticEvent provided photos to each of the ladies with their fresh cuts.

Almost 50 smiling women socialized and enjoyed free haircuts, manicures, and lunch at the United Way agency partner. They chose from clothing, shoes, and books, and came away with gift bags of jewelry, toiletries and cosmetics.

Students from Scientific Marvel Beauty School volunteered their skills.

Students from Scientific Marvel Beauty School volunteered their skills.

“It’s really great to give them a day where they’re pampered and have someone take care of them,” said NorWest Community Development Coordinator Elizabete Halprin.

Some of the women live isolated lives, Elizabete said. They may be alone or single parents living on a low income, or going through issues stemming from abuse or trauma.

Yvonne Clements thinks she may have missed just one Women’s Day of Caring in 10 years.

Yvonne Clements says the Day of Caring is a chance for women to connect.

Yvonne Clements says the Day of Caring is a chance for women to connect.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” said Yvonne, tucking into a sandwich and veggies after her haircut.

“It’s time for women to be pampered. They might not have had their hair done for years, seriously, and it’s a chance to get new clothes for free.”

Yvonne said residents in her Blake Gardens housing complex “don’t really socialize, so this is a chance to get to know each other.”

“This is the one big social event.”

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As in past years, Scientific Marvel Beauty School students – 19 of them – were on hand to provide the free haircuts and manicures.

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Scientific Marvel Esthetics Instructor Romona Boeve said the day is about more than “making someone pretty.”

“It’s a connection. You’re making a connection with a person and talking to them.”

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Jan Morowski of the WRHA, which had seven volunteers helping out, said making personal connections is a wonderful part of the event.

“They connect through this as neighbours and become friends.”

WRHA provided clothing and shoes through an employee drive – enough for each woman to leave with multiple bags full.

The ladies got to choose a new book provided by Frontier College, which also provided children’s books for the prize baskets.

All the women took home gift bags, and 15 lucky winners also got prize baskets.

All the women took home gift bags, and 15 lucky winners also got prize baskets.

“We support United Way and Day of Caring,” said Frontier College Community Coordinator Karen Ste. Marie.

“Literacy happens at every level. There’s always an opportunity to learn, and women who use NorWest can be lifelong learners, right?”

France Croteau picked out a book that resonated with her.

France Croteau picked out a book that resonated with her.

France Croteau passed on the fiction for Flat Out Rock – Ten Great Bands of the 60s. She said she attended Woodstock in 1974 as an 11-year-old girl and remembers “dancing with my mum and dad.”

Learn more about United Way Days of Caring online or contact Day of Caring manager Hillary at 204-924-4273 or hgair@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca.

9-day-old Annabelle was not interested in a manicure. Maybe next year!

9-day-old Annabelle was not interested in a manicure. Maybe next year!

Help available for non-profits!

Volunteers are ready to help with projects and events at non-profits.

Does your non-profit have a project you’ve been putting off or an event you can use some help with?

Volunteers helping through a United Way Day of Caring could be the perfect answer!

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The Day of Caring program matches local non-profit organizations with volunteers from community-minded businesses to complete short-term projects. In 2015, over 1,500 volunteers contributed 5,600 hours to 140 hands-on volunteer projects in Winnipeg.

Whether it’s refreshing an indoor or outdoor space, helping out with a fundraiser or AGM, or hosting a special event for the individuals and families you serve, local workplaces are eager to pitch in and lend a hand.

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Check out this list of potential Day of Caring volunteer projects and collection drives that your non-profit can tap into. And if you have a project or idea not on this list, we would love to hear about it.

 Download the Day of Caring request form here to get started today!

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And rest assured, we know every agency has unique needs. We will work to find the right group of volunteers to help with your project or event. Once matched, we work with your staff and the volunteer team leader to ensure all details are covered and the Day of Caring is a success for everyone involved!

And there’s a fund to help you purchase materials for your Day of Caring, up to $250!

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If you have any questions or would like to discuss potential project ideas, please contact Hillary at 204-924-4273 or hgair@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca

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Download a Day of Caring request form for for your non-profit.

Warm PJs, warm hearts.

Fuzzy suits headed for children after generosity finds PJ Drive.

The annual PJ Drive by the Manitoba Chiropractors Association (MCA) was a huge success, with over 2,700 sets of jammies collected by 32 participating chiropractic clinics.

“It’s such a nice thing. To think of all those children having a new set of jammies to snuggle into is really heartwarming,” said Hillary Gair, community involvement manager at United Way Winnipeg.

Mariah Baldwin (left), United Way community involvement associate, and Hillary Gair, community involvement manager, with a fraction of the 2,700+ sets of PJs collected by Manitoba Chiropractors Association members this year.

Mariah Baldwin (left), United Way community involvement associate, and Hillary Gair, community involvement manager, with a fraction of the 2,700+ sets of PJs collected by Manitoba Chiropractors Association members this year.

Gair said jammies have already been distributed to 25 United Way agency partners, with more going out this week.

“The PJ’s are so wonderfully cozy and will brighten the eyes of the children and warm the hearts of their parents,” said Diane O’Neil, executive director of the Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute after getting their shipment of warm, fuzzy suits.

MCA’s Chelsea Perrault, who helps organize the drive, is thrilled with the outcome – almost double their goal of 1,500 sets.

“I can’t even put it into words. I was just overwhelmed with the number of pajamas our members collected this year…it left me speechless when Hillary sent me that email and said the grand total was over 2700 pairs.”

The annual PJ Drive was started by Suzanne Stitt of Natural Wellness Chiropractic Centre six years ago before MCA joined in three years ago.

The drive is over now for another year, but Gair said there are still lots of opportunities for groups looking to help out in the community.

“There are many ways for people to give back through United Way, including a collection drive or Day of Caring.”

For more information on group volunteer opportunities contact Hillary Gair at
204-924-4273 or hgair@unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca

Great-West Life’s volunteer marathon!

About 80 Great-West Life employees show they care as part of the company’s national Day of Caring Project Drive.

Over the past two weeks purple-shirted employees from Great-West Life in Winnipeg gave their time and energy to make Winnipeg better through 10 back-to-back United Way Days of Caring.

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A United Way Day of Caring is a chance for volunteers; usually groups organized through a workplace, to help change lives in Winnipeg by helping community organizations complete short-term projects that need a little extra people power.

Caring, and smiling, at North End Women's Centre Betty Berg House.

Caring, and smiling, at North End Women’s Centre Betty Berg House.

The Days of Caring were part of a national drive by Great-West – a founding partner of United Way of Winnipeg – that saw almost 400 employees helping out with 40 projects in Winnipeg and Montreal, London, Toronto and Regina.

Jan Belanger, Vice-President of Community Relations for Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, says staff appreciate high-impact volunteer opportunities in their communities.

“Along with building relationships with United Way agencies and the people who benefit from their services, they’re also getting to know their colleagues better, outside of everyday workplace contact.”

The companies organized Days of Caring across Canada to lead off their 2015 United Way workplace fundraising campaigns, Belanger added.

It’s the 3rd year they have done the national blitz of caring, which includes a $500 donation to each agency.

In Winnipeg employees helped out at seven organizations, including several United Way agency partners.

Two separate groups of volunteers spent two days at the Betty Berg House – a house operated by the North End Women’s Centre to help women who have been experiencing homelessness transition their lives to independent living.

Prepping for painting at the Betty Berg House.

Prepping for painting at the Betty Berg House.

The Great-West crews prepared and painted six bedrooms used by women at the house, which had not seen fresh paint in about 10 years.

Making bedrooms bright again.

Making bedrooms bright again.

“It’s amazing, it helps us so much. This house really needed an uplift, and there’s no way I would have had the time to paint the bedrooms,” said house mentor Jenny Foster.

Another Day of Caring winterized a community garden in the West End that has space for growing and playing.

Cleaning up The Kids' Garden

Cleaning up The Kids’ Garden

The Kids’ Garden is maintained by Spence Neighbourhood Association and sits next to the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre, where SNA runs programming for children and youth.

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Children from SNA’s Building Belonging program – an after school program that provides nutritious food, activities, and help with homework to kids aged 6 to 12 – use the garden space to play in and for growing food that they harvest and eat.

Great-West employees also helped at United Way’s Koats for Kids, Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre, Pregnancy and Family Support Services, The WestEnd Commons, and Art City. They also acted in volunteer roles for two Living on the Edge poverty simulations, which help participants gain an understanding of the challenges faced by people living in poverty.

Assembling a closet system for the Fort Garry Women's Resource Centre.

Assembling a closet system for the Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre.

Getting Art City ready for a dinosaur party requires prehistoric scenery.

Getting Art City ready for a dinosaur party requires prehistoric scenery.

Keep scrolling to see photos of the Days of Caring teams!

Bringing the warmth at Koats for Kids.

Bringing the warmth at Koats for Kids.

The Koats for Kids crew helped sort and create bundles of mitts, hats, scarves and coats to keep Winnipeg children warm this winter.

The Koats for Kids crew helped sort and create bundles of mitts, hats, scarves and coats to keep Winnipeg children warm this winter.

On the job cleaning up WestEnd Commons resource centre and common areas.

On the job cleaning up WestEnd Commons resource centre and common areas.

Helpers at the Fort Garry Women's Resource Centre, where they installed a closet system and organized items.

Helpers at the Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre, where they installed a closet system and organized items.

The painting preppers.

The painting preppers.

The painters.

The painters.

Living on The Edge poverty simulation, first day.

Living on The Edge poverty simulation, first day.

Living on The Edge poverty simulation, second day.

Living on The Edge poverty simulation, second day.

Great-West helpers painted two offices and a kitchen at Pregnancy & Family Support Services.

Great-West helpers painted two offices and a kitchen at Pregnancy & Family Support Services.

Toby Gillies, studio coordinator at Art City, receives a $500 cheque from Great-West volunteers (who also helped build a dinosaur habitat) to help fund their kids' art programs.

Toby Gillies, studio coordinator at Art City, receives a $500 cheque from Great-West volunteers (who also helped build a dinosaur habitat) to help fund kids’ art programs.

Thank you to all the wonderful Great-West Life employees for making Winnipeg better!

Andrea from North End Women's Centre made bannock for both shifts of volunteers at the Betty Berg House!

Andrea from North End Women’s Centre made bannock for both shifts of volunteers at the Betty Berg House!