Posts Tagged ‘donations’

The anonymous knitting Grandma strikes again!

February 28, 2013

Back in September, a woman came in to the food hamper program and saw a big bag of yarn that we had behind the desk. Her eyes lit up, and she quickly asked if she could bring it to her grandmother, who loved to knit. We said sure, and she went on her way.

mittens pic

A few weeks later the woman came back with mittens and hats her grandmother had knit with the yarn. Her grandmother had wanted the yarn so she could knit winter items to donate back to us. According to her granddaughter, this woman knits with any yarn available and donates what she makes to charitable organizations, who can give the items to families in need.

sweater pic

A few months after her first donation, anonymous knitting Grandma is going strong! We’ve probably received over 100 items from her, mostly in the form of hats and mittens, but also the occasional sweater and scarf. It means a lot to us and the people who come in that she puts so much time and love into her products. Parents of small children especially get excited when they find her stuff on our shelves.

Thank you, grandma, for taking the time to keep kids in Waterloo Region warm, and to all our food and clothing donors!

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Give yourself the gift of knowledge, and help others year round

December 16, 2012

The other day I was walking in Uptown Waterloo and I was waved down by someone working for Public Outreach, and organization that does fundraising for charities like Greenpeace and Sick Kids in Toronto. The person was very friendly and explained the charity they were raising money for. As I listened, I realized that this was for a cause I’d never heard of. How was I to know that if I donated, my money would be having a real impact? How did I know the charity’s values lined up with mine? This is something many of us encounter with so many non-profits and charities asking for donations, especially during the Christmas season. With this in mind, I politely declined to donate at that moment, but promised to do some research on my own to make an informed decision.

Moving right along with our 12 Days of doing good, the theme of today, day 7, is Knowledge. This is clearly a broad theme, so we thought we’d focus on something that is relevant to the season, when many people are generously donating to their favourite charity or non-profit organization: how do you choose a charity that is in line with your values and is having a positive impact? I know that with more than 85 000 charitable organizations in Canada alone, it can be hard to choose. In fact, Canada has the second largest non-profit and voluntary sector worldwide (the Netherlands has the first). Today, we’re going to give you a few tips about how you can make an informed decision when donating to your cause of choice.

12 Days (more…)

Day 5: The Gift of Health

December 14, 2012

12 Days

Today’s theme in our 12 Days series is ‘Health’. As we’ve talked about many times before (here, here, and here), we see the effects of poverty on people’s health every day here at food hampers. To give one example, a woman came in for a hamper a few weeks ago, and disclosed she had been diagnosed with cancer. She explained that her doctor recommended she stay away from canned items, as some contain chemicals in the lining of the container, and had also recommended she increase her intake of fruit, vegetables, and whole grain products. This was difficult for her to take in; since she relies on food hamper programs like ours, she often has to subsist on non-perishable items and less produce. Like many people we interact with here, she is caught between wanting to follow her doctor’s orders to get healthy again, and needing to accept what food assistance agencies offered her so she can eat at all. Luckily, we were able to give her some extra produce, but she should not have to take a gamble every time she needs food.

needed_items

Many of our program participants have diabetes or other chronic diseases, which are far more common among people living on low income than people in other income brackets, yet it is difficult to afford the foods that may help them deal with their disease.

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We have squash!

October 9, 2012

Fall just started, and that means we have starting to get our annual deluge of squash from local farmers. For the past while, people have been eligible to get up to one squash per person in their household, which is a pretty high quota for us. We have had many varieties, including familiar ones like butternut, pumpkin, and acorn, as well as some that may be new for people, like ambercup, spaghetti, kabocha, and turban.

The secret about squash is that although there are differences in the moisture and sugar levels, you can use most varieties for any squash recipe. Squash is great to give out in hampers because one or two will feed several people, or one person several times. Squash are nutritious, filled with fibre and antioxidants, and store for a long time in your pantry. To help people who come in for hampers take squash, which can be intimidating if you’ve never been taught how to cook one, we’re giving out lots of recipes and tips.

Our squash display in the lobby

If you’ve never tried to cook squash before, you’re in for a treat! It’s super easy to cook, as most recipes just call for roasted or mashed squash. Here are a few of our favourite squash recipes for you to try at home.

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The question box: how do we get the food we give out?

September 18, 2012

This is number two in a blog series around the question box we put up at the food hamper program. A few months ago, we put up a question box in our lobby so people could ask questions about the program that they were maybe hesitant to come up and ask the staff. Last time, we answered the question “why do you give out expired food?” Today I’ll be answering another question: “how do you get this much food?”

The question box in our lobby

The answer is simple: we are able to distribute as much food as we do because of the generous donations we receive from businesses and organizations in and outside Waterloo Region. We are also fortunate to have space and equipment to unload and store food safely. (more…)

What do we do other than provide food hampers?

June 20, 2012

As part of my ongoing training I’ve been tasked with finding out the services we offer other than food hampers. Although the bulk of our resources go towards providing people with emergency food hampers, we do offer other services. These fall into two main categories: non-food supports we offer to people who visit us, and food related services we offer to other organizations.

Let’s start with the non-food services we offer to patrons. First of all, we have our lovely lobby, which is kept in order by Wouda and Carola (see their profiles here and here). Everything in the lobby is free for anyone who wants it, including the clothing, shoes, and extra food we put out. We also offer people household goods, like pots, pans, cutlery, and even bedding, if they are in need. They can ask us for these things in our lobby and we try to accommodate their needs.

The lobby

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Reflections on my first few weeks

June 4, 2012

I’ve been asked to think about three things that have surprised me since I started this position about two weeks ago. I’m actually glad to have this task because it has allowed me to reflect on my time here, and hopefully this will help me grow as an intake worker. I will try to leave out the surprises I talked about in my last post (how nice the volunteers are! How awesome the program values are!) and reflect on other things I’ve noticed. (more…)

Expect the unexpected

March 30, 2012

photo via flickr

Each day, week, month and year we are here at the Emergency Food Hamper Program something new and different happens.  It could be an unexpected donation, a new and interesting volunteer, or a new story and difficult decision to make.

So far 2012 has proven to be a challenging year for us.  Our weekly plan for how we will distribute food have required more forethought, planning and second guessing than usual.  Why is that?  There are a few reasons. (more…)

Pitch in at the grocery store and online!

December 14, 2011

Today is the 5th day of our 12days campaign to get people to pitch in, and is a very busy day for the House of Friendship. Why? Well, today is the day that we started the distribution of Turkeys to the community – thanks to the help of many volunteers and the hard work of the Rotary Club.

Today is full of sharing, warm thoughts, and a lot of heavy lifting for us. For you, I’m sure it’s no different. We all want to do what we can to ensure our family, friends and loved ones know how much we appreciate them. For some that means getting the perfect gift; and for others it’s all about family get togethers, sharing a meal, a card or a kind word. With the holiday season starting to pick up it’s not always easy to find time to buy the gifts, bake cookies,  and sign all the cards for the ones you love while also managing various other tasks such as cleaning the house, working at your job, taking care of your children, and so on.

If you’re trying to find a gift for someone, this is the time of year when things can get extra stressful. The malls are packed with people, the days seem shorter and patience starts to wear thin. This could be why each year more and more people turn to online shopping to help ease the stress of going to the crowded shopping malls and hopefully save some time.

If you’re one of those people who are interested in online shopping options, I’m here to share some good news with you! Now not only can you shop at home in the comfort of your pajamas, but you can also do your part to pitch in and make a donation to the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto or other charitable organizations while you shop. In order to make this happen, you need to visit this website to complete your online shopping. Here you’ll be able to buy anything from theatre tickets to sporting equipment to jewelry to dinnerware and so much more!  There’s something for everyone! Then each company will donate up to 50 percent of the purchase price to a charity.

However if online shopping is not your cup of tea, or you want to help out people locally, please keep in mind that there are many other ways to help those in need. You can volunteer your time or donate food, clothing, baby items, bus tickets, or money.  We have shared many tips and suggestions so far and you can find them all here.

Some of the most needed food items are being highlighted at various Loblaw chain grocery stores throughout the region such as Valu-Mart, Zehrs, No Frills, or the Real Canadian Superstore. You may have seen this image near some food products in your local grocery store:

This image is to help promote their annual “Extra Helpings Holiday food drive” program, which kicked off November 25th. Each time the event runs these stores are hoping to collect enough food and monetary donations to help fill local food bank shelves for the season. Any donations are appreciated, but please try to pick the same healthy food options that you would choose for your own family. But this in store promotion will be ending very soon!  The last day is tomorrow: December 15!  Can you still donate after the 15th though?  Of course, as usual, there will be a bin by the check out that you can drop food items off in. However the helpful signs probably won’t be there to help guide you.

Regardless of the way you choose to help out this holiday season, each action makes a tremendous impact to the work of a charitable organization and for the people in need of some extra help right now. Hunger doesn’t take a holiday and neither does the need for donations all year round. Even one can of soup can make a difference – it will be someones lunch or dinner – and a very tangible gift that you can make to someone during the month of December.

What are you doing to help pitch in?  Let us know on twitter and Facebook.  Did you donate a can of soup at your local grocery store?  Talk about it, tweet it, blog it!  Your actions will encourage others, and help make someones day while they struggle with hard times.

One bowl at a time

December 8, 2011

Lately we’ve tried to share a basic ingredient for soups with all of our hampers: Campbell’s beef broth. It’s a perfect time of year to receive this type of donation because the days are getting colder and we’re all looking for inexpensive and satisfying meals to help keep us warm. Also having soup broth available allows people to make their own soup creation, instead of eating the various canned soups that we typically have on hand.

The soup broth was offered before people left with their hamper. but since many people are unfamiliar with how to use soup broth we included recipes tip sheets to help people learn ways to use this great ingredient. These tip sheets included anything from substituting soup broth for water when cooking vegetables or rice, freezing in ice-cube size portions to add moisture when re-heating leftovers, or recipes for homemade soup. But we’re not the only ones trying to share the warm feeling of soup with the community.

Janet Uffelman, Sandi McCrory, and Norma Weiner are the Soup Sisters. These women are working hard to bring more soup to Waterloo Region. After attending a social evening out in Toronto, for another branch of the Soup Sisters, these wonderful women decided to start a program branch of their own.

Their not-for-project project got off the ground near the end of September, after they were able to establish a partnership with The Culinary Studio. Now these girls are in full swing of producing many bowls of soup each month. Each bowl of soup is prepared in a state-of-the-art professional kitchen by people who are learning to develop their passion for cooking, and by those who are trying to pass on their acquired skills.

Their culinary efforts are going to support Reaching Our Outdoor Friends (ROOF) and Marillac Place. Both of these agencies are trying to provide shelter, supportive services and advocate for youth who are struggling with a variety of issues and seeking a better future for themselves and/or their children.

If you’d like to get involved in supporting of the work of the Soup Sisters, you can attend one of their evening events for a cost of 50 dollars. The evening runs in the style of a cooking class where participants will produce approximately 150 to 200 bowls of soup. But that’s not where the fun ends! After working hard to create all this soup, the evening will follow with the enjoyment of a light meal and a wine tasting. For information on booking an event, please click here.

However if you’re not able to attend one of their events, there are other ways to support the work that the Soup Sisters are doing. To find these, click here. And just remember: each donation, small or big, is one bowl closer to another satisfied belly in our community.