Posts Tagged ‘community’

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…)

Challenge and Encouragement – The Role of Peer Health and Shelter to Housing

May 8, 2014

Yesterday we posted about the upcoming Kindred Spirit BBQ happening today, Thursday at 5:30 at Kitchener City Hall.

Now I am happy to share an interview that Doug Rankin conducted with Clarence, an active community member working and walking beside people experiencing homelessness.  Clarence has his own lived experience to share, and a strong focus on the importance of community.  He will also be one of the two peopled recognized for their contributions locally.

What did you do as a Peer Health Worker at the Men’s Hostel?

I built relationships with people, and then supported them by listening and helping them solve problems. I would let them know what resources are available in the community so they had some points for accessing health care, housing, employment, food, clothing, and a lot of other resources. I was very positive and supportive of the men and would provide a lot of encouragement to them. And I was there to support them when they were ready move forward and make bigger changes. (more…)

Quiet Moments of Community – Downtown and at Your Kitchen Table

May 6, 2014

One of the ways we are marking House of Friendship’s 75th year of service is with a special tea blend produced by local business, XTEA Co. House of Friendship is a leading provider of addiction treatment services. As such, we do not serve alcohol at any of our events. We do however, serve tea! What better way to toast our 75th year of service than with a special cup of ‘tea with Joe Cramer’? Read on, while you enjoy a nice warm cup of tea.

Zenia Horton of Xtea with House of Friendship Tea

The simple things bring back memories

I find that tea tends to slow people down. The preparation, the smell, the ritual… you are more present it seems when making and serving tea. Everyone seems to have a tea memory. When I started attending tea seminars I noticed that everyone has a favourite tea memory. The smell reminds them of something: maybe tea with their grandmother, or a tea cup close to their heart.

My name is Zenia Horton, and I own and operate a kitchen design business by the name of Zen Design. I am also the founder of a loose leaf tea company by the name of XTEA CO.

My passion for design and creating spaces for people to interact and communicate in led me to start a loose leaf tea company. Community is always an important part of what I do. (more…)

What Children Teach Us About Giving

April 28, 2014

Childhood is usually thought of as a time when you start to learn about your place in the world and how to be a part of it.  Parents and other adults sheppard children from infancy through adolescence and into adulthood.

But not all life lessons need to come from adults.

Recently, six year old Ben delivered a large number of brand new toys and books to the Sunnydale Community Centre to share with children in the community.  The community centre is situated in North Waterloo in a culturally diverse community which is home to many new immigrant families, a large number of children and youth and many living on a limited income.   Many of these families access services, resources and programs through the community centre. (more…)

National Volunteer Week: how our volunteers build community

April 22, 2013

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” –Marjorie Moore

Marge and Mark take a quick break from packing hampers in the warehouse.

Marge and Mark take a quick break from packing hampers in the warehouse.

This week is National Volunteer Week, and for a program like ours that relies on volunteers to run at all, it’s a pretty special one. A few weeks ago when I was looking for inspiration for volunteer week, I came across the quote above, by Marjorie Moore. As a self-admitted political junkie, I love the quote, and I love the idea that people can work together to create a place where they feel at home. Our volunteers come in every week (or in some cases, every day!) for their shifts—so what keeps them coming back? I think what draws volunteers in is that they feel a connection to and a passion for the vision of the House of Friendship: creating healthy communities where all can belong and thrive. So, what does that kind of community look like, and what values are volunteers voting for with their hours here? I have a few ideas.

A community that believes in the right to food

The first thing I see volunteers ‘voting’ for is a community where everyone has a right to food. Everyone here is passionate about feeding people, and about creating healthy hampers. When we don’t have fresh veggies to put into hampers for people I hear volunteers lamenting the fact that the hampers aren’t as healthy as usual. White bread is always left to the end, and whole wheat goes into hampers first.

Ursula bags up some mushrooms for hampers.

Ursula bags up some mushrooms for hampers.

Volunteers like Val are excited about ‘selling’ produce people may not know how to cook, like cabbage, turnip, or papaya. They recognize that if you live on low income it can be hard to afford healthy items, and they want to give people nourishing food their family will enjoy. Every day I see excited volunteers going through recipes with people getting food, even writing down tips to send along with them. Volunteers like volunteering here because they are drawn to food issues in some capacity. Like our volunteer Sherry said, “I volunteer here because I like helping people with their food.”


Why does Waterloo Region need a food charter?

February 8, 2013

Before I started working at the Emergency Food Hamper program, I was very passionate about and involved with local food initiatives. I love community gardening and urban agriculture, going to the farmer’s market, and supporting local farmers. I’m still passionate about all of these things, but more and more I’m noticing that people on low income often don’t have the luxury of supporting local or organic food initiatives. Local and/or organic food is often more expensive and less convenient to purchase and prepare than conventional or processed food from the grocery store. I started doing research on the price of nutritious food versus how much a family makes on Ontario Works or even working a minimum wage job. I started to doubt whether supporting affordable nutritious food for people on low income and supporting local farmers were even compatible goals.


Because of my change in perspective, I was very interested when the Waterloo Region Food Roundtable, a group of citizens and people in the food industry who talk about food issues in the region, drafted a food charter. Waterloo Region Public Health started the roundtable in 2005, and their mission is to champion a vibrant and healthy local food system. They do this through networking and policy-making. 18 people sit on the roundtable and are from a variety of sectors, from the local farming community, to advocates for those living on low income, to academics and public health professionals. The idea is that if you get many people who involved in the local food system together around a table, you can have better conversations about local food issues leading to more sustainable and comprehensive food policies.


Celebrating 12 Days of good deeds

December 21, 2012

12 Days

Today is the last day of our 12 Days for Good campaign, and though I am sad to see it go, I’ve been so inspired by all the amazing stories I’ve heard from people who are paying it forward. Today as we celebrate the good deeds done in Waterloo Region, here are some of the highlights of the past week and a half.

To start off, word from the Christmas Hampers Warehouse is that over 4,240 hampers have been delivered to homes in Waterloo Region. This has been our busiest year yet, and it would not have been possible without all the help we got from amazing volunteers during the past 12 days. What a success!

We’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to speak to media outlets about 12 Days for Good. John Neufeld, Jane Barkley, and Natalie Brown were on Talk Local Waterloo Region discussing the impact of 12 Days and how they’ve been involved. Check out the video here.