Archive for December, 2014

We Need to Support Local Artists #12daysforgood

December 11, 2014

12 days for good creativity


Day 4 of 12 Days for Good: Creativity

by Wendi Campbell, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Waterloo Region.

Things that people may not know about me – I am crafty and creative.  When I have the time I’ve been known to sew a pillow, I love to arrange fresh flowers, and will someday finish decorating our house.  I like homemade and the effort that goes into creating something from scratch.  One of my favourite things to do is find unique local art for gifts and for our home.  When we travel we try to find something locally crafted to remember our trip.  For gifts I often find myself at the Clay and Glass Gallery picking up glass, pottery, jewellery or cards.  I love the Waterloo Potters Workshop– not just because of a fabulous fundraiser they run for the Food Bank (Empty Bowls – May 2015) but because I can serve soup in something that was made in my community.

Today I share my passion for local art and will be making a donation to the Creative Enterprise Initiative (CEI). CEI is working hard to bring investment and recognition to our community, through the investment of time, money and professional skills in creative endeavours and small to mid-sized creative organizations that are ready to take their work to the next level. It is this approach to creative placemaking that will benefit our entire community.

not made in china

A vibrant community includes traditionally defined arts and culture and we need to support local artists – help them to become sustainable through their work – let a pillar of our economic development and success be support of a vibrant arts and culture scene.  Check out the website as an example of the work that Creative Enterprise is doing in our community to support the development of the essential community pillar and then check out some of the fabulous art organizations, artists, galleries and think about how you can incorporate into your holiday giving.

You can follow Wendi’s good deeds and creativity on Twitter

Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment, it fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones << TWEET THIS


Women’s Rights are Human Rights #12daysforgood

December 10, 2014

human rights

Women’s Rights are Human Rights By Sara Casselman

Sexual violence has been discussed publicly in recent months more than ever before. We’ve been overwhelmed with reports and related commentary about powerful men accused of sexually assaulting and harassing women.

Heroes have fallen. Allegations of sexual assault and harassment have surfaced (or, in some cases, resurfaced) about Jian Ghomeshi, Bill Cosby, and a number of men in the political sphere.

Sexual violence doesn’t just exist outside our circles; it’s happening here and it’s more common than people think.

One out of three Canadian women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime and less than 10% report these experiences. (In 2013 there were 583 sexual assaults reported to police locally.)

For many years sexual assault services have been stretched beyond capacity and survivors have often waited months for counselling after reaching out for support.

December 10th is International Human Rights Day. We know that women’s rights are human rights; we all have the right to live safe from violence. Sexual violence is pervasive but it’s not inevitable. In fact, it’s preventable.

How can we, as members of our community interested in doing good, address this issue?

  • First and foremost, we need to listen, believe and support survivors of sexual violence. Survivors are often blamed, shamed and doubted when they disclose their experience. Because of this, we have to intentionally create a community in which survivors feel safe speaking up. (False reporting is rare; it accounts for 2-4% of police reports. It’s much more common that someone would never disclose than it is that they would make a false allegation.)
  • Sexual violence is about power and control, not passion. We need to raise our boys to treat women and girls with fairness, equality and respect. (For ideas on how to do this, visit
  • This season of giving consider a donation to our counselling program.
  • Join us on January 7th. Our community has organized an incredible event in support of survivors of sexual violence as an alternative to Bill Cosby’s scheduled local performance.

sara casselman

With timely, appropriate support for survivors and public education aimed at prevention, we know that a better future exists for our daughters and our sons.

Find out more about Sara and the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region on Twitter 

Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself << TWEET THIS

Opportunity? Pass it on! #12daysforgood

December 9, 2014

12 days for good opportunity

Day 2 of 12 Days for Good is all about opportunity. Think about the many opportunities you’ve had: growing up in a safe environment, being supported in your education, meeting people you developed warm and lasting relationships with…  today is the day to pay it forward. See how you can give someone else an opportunity today by visiting one of our community partners: Extend-a-Family Waterloo Region, Project READ, YWCA of Cambridge and the YWCA of Kitchener-Waterloo, and Waterloo Region Child & Youth Connection. Find opportunities where you volunteer. Learn about the many new opportunities just waiting for you in Waterloo Region…

Today, Kelly McManus, Senior Director of Community Relations at University of Waterloo, will share her take on opportunity.

The Opportunity to do what you lovekelly mcmanus

I’m grateful that my jobs have never just felt like jobs.  Making a difference in my community AND a paycheque – how awesome is that?!  Over the years, I’ve worked with amazing volunteers, donors, service providers and elected officials to mobilize time, treasure and talent.  The common goal?  Simply, to build a strong community for everyone.  I’ve been especially passionate about food security, supports for newcomers, and – as a mom to a super cool eight year old – making sure that all kids get the best possible start in life.

The Opportunity to lead

These days, in my role leading community relations at the University of Waterloo, I get to showcase the ways that our students, faculty and staff make a difference as leaders, volunteers, mentors, and champions for change in our community and across the globe. From volunteerism and philanthropy to research and student initiatives, I’m excited to share some of these examples throughout the 12 Days for Good.

The Opportunity to share the good with family

You’ll also hear about how I’m helping my son to become a do gooder too! This year, we’re working on understanding that the holidays are not just about what he gets under the tree on Christmas morning.  And, this year, after some unexpected changes in our family life, it’s especially important to remind both of us about hope, healing and the power of connection.

Find out more about Kelly and the good she shares on Twitter

Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us everyday. << TWEET THIS

You can also read: House of Friendship Encourages Good Deeds via the Waterloo Region Record for ideas on how to share opportunity today.

Today I Share Compassion #12daysforgood

December 8, 2014

12 days for good compassion

Today I Share Compassion #12daysforgood

At first, it may be hard to pinpoint compassion in our community- to think of one news story, to single out just one person, one group, one organization and say ‘Aha! There! There is compassion’- it isn’t an easy task. In part, it’s hard to put such a fine point on compassion because the truth is, in Waterloo Region compassion is so woven into our daily lives, it’s become part of the way we do business.

In Waterloo Region, we have countless events throughout the year that celebrate people who demonstrate a strong desire to help. We actively encourage corporations and nonprofits to work together and we celebrate their successes. We’ve developed special programs to help volunteers deepen their engagement here. Maybe that’s why we have amazing people like Jessica Kuepfer in our community. Jessica’s a return Do-Gooder for 12 Days for Good who shows great compassion for the health of our community.

jessica kuepfer 12 days for good

I love living in Kitchener-Waterloo because there are so many opportunities to help, to serve and to be fulfilled within the community. I am particularly focused on the nourishment of my community which is why I am involved in the annual House of Friendship Potato Blitz which collects potatoes and money for the food hamper program. I also am a strong supporter of NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) because mental and physical health are bound together.


Find out more about Jessica and the good she shares on Instagram, twitter and her website.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” << TWEET THIS.

807 Recipes From Our Community

December 5, 2014

Emergency Food Hamper Program House of Friendship via Wordle

Today I am happy to share a collaborative project that the staff and volunteers of the Emergency Food Hamper Program put together to celebrate their work and their common interest in food.

It is a short cookbook of favourite recipes, and recipes from some of our friends.

We hope you enjoy it!

In the comments feel free to share some of your favourite recipes!  We are always looking for a new way to incorporate a new ingredient into our weekly menus at home or try something completely new!

To download the .pdf copy of the book, click on this link here: 807 Recipes from Community

50 Years of Sharing in Our Community

December 1, 2014

Since 1964 House of Friendship has been sharing the gift of food with its neighbours in need during the Holiday Season. A great many people have, over the years, been the specific parts of House of Friendship, doing the specific work involved in making sure folks in our community get Christmas hampers and toys.

Tony is one of the many dedicated Christmas hamper workers, whose steady and ongoing commitment to the Program keep it running smoothly, and growing!

His first experience with the Christmas Hamper Program was in 1977.

9 - Tony

Service, in style, as always.


“I think back then it was in the basement of a store on Krug Street. That year we maybe gave out about 800 hampers. Linda Worth was directing things, she was the only staff person, at the time she was the director of the Hostel, and Live and Learn. House of Freindship was pretty small at that point. At the time I joined other volunteers in delivering food. Volunteers were and continue to be the main reason why things get done here.”

A few years later, Tony got a job at House of Friendship after graduating from the University of Waterloo and was once again involved in Christmas Hampers on the staff side of things. Over 35 years later he is still here and each year has the privilege and challenge of setting up and running the program with a team of volunteers and staff. (more…)