A chance to give back

Published: 19 October 2016

HR staff participate in Pointe-St-Charles food drive as part of Community Engagement Day

Carole Randle and Sharron Smith, of Pensions and Benefits, took part in Community Engagement Day (CED) on September 29, volunteering with Share the Warmth, a Pointe-St-Charles social services organization. CED is an annual event organized by McGill’s Social Equity and Diversity Education Office that encourages McGill students and staff to help out at local community organizations. Some 30 to 40 group activities are offered each year.

Sharron and Carole, joined by Karin Lornsen, from the Principal’s office, and students Junbei Zhu (a first-year student from China) and Zoë Wilkins (a second-year Arts student), distributed brown paper bags and community event flyers door to door in Pointe-St-Charles, in preparation for Share the Warmth’s annual food drive, which was to be held two days later. As most of the food donations reach the organization around Christmas, their food bank runs low by mid-year and this food drive helps them replenish it.

“Armed with a map of the area, our group walked through the streets, placing the brown bags in people's mailboxes, to be filled with non-perishable food items and picked up by another CED group,” Carole and Sharron recall. “It was a beautiful, sunny fall day and we worked very well together, efficiently breaking into two groups, with each taking charge of one side of the street.” 

The team then met with Marion Séré, Human Resources Manager at Share the Warmth, who gave them a tour of the facility and explained the many different ways the organization helps the community: through breakfast and lunch programs, youth mentoring programs, tutoring, music programs, a café where community members can congregate, a store where donated clothes are sold at low prices, thus providing revenue for the centre, and the food bank. They also met other people who regularly give some of their time to the organization.

“It was a very meaningful and heartfelt event, knowing that we were giving back to the community even in some small way,” Carole and Sharron say. “Mixing staff and students was a great idea! It got us outside our usual sphere and gave us the chance to learn more about the students – their studies, their backgrounds – and gain a new perspective.”

Photo: From left to right, Junbei Zhu, Carole Randle, Sharron Smith, Zoë Wilkins and Karin Lornsen

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