Ending a challenging 2020 on a positive, we wanted to give back to our residents over the holiday season. Through a series of initiatives to Pay It Forward, our teams launched campaigns to support those in their immediate communities.
Southern Alberta Food Drive
Stemming from past Avenue Living Communities (ALC) giving opportunities, supporting our local food banks helps make a direct impact in our communities. This is a product of our vision, to build positive communities.
COVID-19 has negatively impacted food banks all over Canada, so now more than ever, food banks need assistance to ensure food security for those in need. Food Banks Canada reported a 42 per cent reduction in food bank volunteers in 2020, with an increase in food bank usage as much as 25 per cent in March, 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic.
"It really means a lot to us when we can help those in our communities," says Graeme Mitchell, Regional Vice President. "We're also members of this community. And giving back – this is an impactful way to do it."
This holiday, with the help of our residents in our southern Albertan communities, we raised more than 2,800 lbs of food, with an estimated total of $6,800. We donated an additional $10,000, which has been distributed across food banks in Calgary, Camrose, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, and Wetaskiwin.
Together, we have made a difference for our neighbours in need.
Internally amongst our employees, we launched a warmth drive to collect warm clothing as we approach the winter. Gloves, scarves, winter boots, touques, and of course, socks (looking at you, National Sock Day, Dec. 4), were collected in numbers, as we donated to two Calgary, Alberta. non-profits, The Brenda Strafford Centre and Inn from the Cold, who strive for change in our community.
The Brenda Strafford Centre serves those at risk of family violence. They provide safe housing and support services to those who need it. So, when they leave the Centre they can live safely in the community. They need help now more than ever. Please consider donating toward their important cause here and help make an impact in others' lives.
Did you know? Socks are one of the most needed items, but are one of the least donated to homeless shelters. Inn from the Cold provides shelter, housing, and coordinated supports to help children and their families achieve independence. We showed our support through donations of warm clothing, including socks. Want to help? Click here to donate or see their full list of most needed items on Amazon.
Medicine Hat Resident Giving
Our team in Medicine Hat, Alberta. went above and beyond to show their Duty of Care for residents. Over the holidays, the team worked together to create gift bags for residents. They safely hand-delivered the gifts, thanking residents for calling ALC home and wishing them a safe and happy holiday season.
Sheila Marie Croker, Leasing Specialist, says many residents were shocked to receive the gifts, but expressed gratitude towards the ALC team for looking after them.
"In today's world, many feel isolated and alone," says Sheila. "I believe that as a team, we made a difference in our residents' lives. It was moving and emotional."
Northern Alberta Bottle Drive
Launched by Bernard Streeper, SVP Operations Northern Alberta, the head-to-head-to-head bottle drive was intended to spark a little friendly competition amongst the Bonnyville, Edmonton, and Lloydminster ALC teams.
The bottle collection began in efforts to raise funds for donation to a lucky few residents, to bring a little joy to the end of 2020. The three teams collected bottles from their homes and offices, hoping to collect the most and win an additional $250.00 from Bernard for their donation. The three teams raised just over $1,000 in total, Bernard chipped in $375.00, bringing each region to a round number. Our CEO, Anthony Giuffre, matched each donation, and the total amount raised was divided so each team could reward a resident with one full month of rent.
"It was a good feeling all around to make a difference in these three people's lives. I was very happy for my team to be able to present such a heartfelt gift just before Christmas." said Bernard. "I can't think of a better way to demonstrate Avenue Living's core values."
Spirits were high as all three recipients were shocked and grateful for the surprise.
"She cried," says Deanna Saylik, Residential Portfolio Manager, speaking on the experience of rewarding one resident. "She has been in that suite for 18 years. She said that was the last thing she was expecting when she opened the door that day."
It's amazing that despite our distance this year, we were still able to come together for those in need. Communities is in our name, and that's because we believe in creating strong communities where we support one another and have a true sense of belonging. We do this through giving initiatives like those this holiday, and we're always striving to do better. If you believe in a cause that we should support, please let us know on social media, as together we can make a greater difference for our neighbours.