Earlier this year, Lord Beaconsfield Elementary’s classroom computer system that was on the verge of collapsewas rescued by a $25,000 Telus donation to The Vancouver Sun’s Adopt-A-School campaign.
The school had asked AAS for money to buy computers to replace ones that had stopped working. This was limiting students’ ability to learn a technology-based curriculum.
Last Friday, Telus was at the East Vancouver school again, this time providing volunteers to staff the food stalls and organize games and pony rides for children and parents at the school’s family day.
“We’re just a small school and sometimes it’s tough finding enough people to help out,” said principal Deena Kotak. “It’s just wonderful they are here with us.”
This past weekend was the 11th annual Telus Days of Giving with thousands of company volunteers across Canada helping out their communities. Telus has supported Adopt-A-School since its inception five years ago.
“We believe in giving where we live,” said Jill Schnarr, Telus vicepresident of community affairs. “Our team members and retirees have contributed more than $440 million to charitable and not-for-profit organizations and volunteered more than 6.8 million hours in support of our communities since 2000,” said Schnarr. However, what was unusual Friday was that for the first time a Telus client – the downtown Hyatt Regency Hotel – had asked if their staffcould join in.
Telus‘ Nicole MacLellan was delighted to have them.
“Today’s all about inspiring acts of giving for causes that matter and it’s especially nice for us to have Rita (Fung) and her volunteers from The Hyatt with us,” MacLellan said.
One of the causes that matters to Fung – the hotel’s human resources manager – is to make sure surplus food that could feed hungry children and families isn’t wasted.
Last winter, she contacted The Vancouver Sun and asked for advice on how the hotel could distribute food that had been designated for conventions but was unused.
“We don’t want to waste food. We do a lot of conventions and often the food is not all used,” she said.
She was directed to the Strathcona Community Centre, which provides meals each day for over 100 impoverished children and families living in the Downtown Eastside.
This led to the hotel being connected to the Angel Food Runners organization, which picks up surplus food and distributes it where it’s most needed.
Fung also distributes serviceable bedding – sheets and blankets the hotel is discarding.
Families in social housing are often forced to live in suites infested with bed bugs and at times their bedding needs to be replaced, she said. Helping others has the added benefit of teaching employees to be concerned about everyone, she says.
“We have to be concerned about people in the community that need our help, but we also have to be concerned about our fellow workers. We have to care for all people,” she said.
By Gerry Bellett (firstname.lastname@example.org)