This holiday season Crowe MacKay worked with local community organizations to support those in need during one of the most challenging years yet. Advocates of investing in our communities, our teams connected with families and individuals by donating household items, purchasing gifts, and volunteering their time. It's been a year like no other, and while we continue to be challenged, we are committed to making a difference.
Here's how Crowe MacKay has spread holiday cheer this year across northern and western Canada.
The West Coast
For over a decade the Crowe MacKay Surrey office has supported the Surrey Christmas Bureau Adopt-A-Family program, purchasing meals and gifts for families in need. This year the office sponsored two families fulfilling children's wish lists of Tonka Trucks, Lego, superheroes, musical instruments, and more. Rachel Boulet, Senior Manager, leads the initiative for the Surrey team. She shares why this initiative has become a tradition:
"As a team, I think we are very fortunate to be able to put gifts under the tree and a meal on the table for our families - there are many families in our community that are not as fortunate. Adopting a family is a great way to come together as a team and give back to families in need at Christmas."
Rachel emphasizes how coordinating the Christmas Hamper is a team effort, asking colleagues to be generous with their time and donations. From Partners to Administrators, everyone comes together to ensure their families wish lists are fulfilled, gifts are purchased, and hampers are delivered.
Our Kelowna office is very active in volunteering in their community, and while in-person activities have been restricted this year, they continued to find ways to give back from a distance. As part of Giving Tuesday, and with the help of their friends at the United Way, the team collected 12 bags of winter garments and blankets for those in need. The Untied Way then dropped off the items at the local branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), where items were distributed to those most vulnerable.
Rohan Jacobs, Senior Manager, who led the initiative in the office shares that they try to commit to doing a clothing/blanket drive every year, and this year was no exception:
"If anything, the support from our staff was even greater given the turmoil surrounding the pandemic. I think it shows a real togetherness in the culture and the people in our firm, as the need for these items is much higher than ever before."
The Kelowna office has partnered with the United Way for over 10 years. Jeremy Lugowy, Corporate and Giving Workplace Giving Manager with the United Way, describes the impact of Crowe MacKay's donation:
"A simple donation like this provides the recipient with more than just warmth – it reminds them that someone else out there has got their back and is thinking of them. This incredible donation of clothing can help spur positive change and improvements in mental well-being for those who need it most at a time of year that can be especially difficult for those who are marginalized."
This year on the Sunshine Coast the office teamed up with their local Secret Santa program. This organization has been supporting families in need for nearly 10 years. This year there were 35 local families who were nominated to receive personalized hampers filled with groceries, gifts, and financial assistance for household expenses. Kelly Rowland, Accounting Technician, has personally volunteered with the program and introduced the initiative to the team. Without hesitation Kelly's colleagues agreed this was an opportunity for them to have an impact in the community and bring some holiday cheer to a family experiencing difficult times.
In Vancouver the giving continued with the office partnering up with the YWCA Presents of Peace program. They sponsored three families experiencing poverty by purchasing groceries, winter clothing, toys, kitchen supplies, and games. For 10 years the Vancouver office has been supporting the YWCA and their mission to lift women and families out of poverty while providing the best start for children and creating new opportunities for education, employment, and leadership. Ashley Desrochers coordinated the office's donations and emphasized the importance of the team's efforts: "It allows us to help a family in need have a wonderful Christmas, with gifts under the tree and food on the table. Every child deserves a happy and memorable Christmas!" In the spirit of giving, the office matched all donations received by staff, and once the families wish lists were fulfilled, the remaining gifts were donated to the YWCA's Holiday Giving Program, supporting families affected by COVID-19 and single mothers struggling with domestic violence.
EvenStart is our Calgary's team charity of choice. They have partnered with the non-profit for three years, with most of their efforts focused on their annual Christmas Hampers. Riza Ponce, Senior Accountant and Corporate Social Responsibility lead, explains how the office wanted to focus their charitable efforts to support an organization that helps children in their community; "this decision was made in the hopes that as an office we could make a substantial and long-term impact to our community through a single organization in need." With this goal in mind, EvenStart was chosen because of their mission to reverse and eliminate the effects of cyclical poverty for youth in the community. "In living our core values, we are able to care for the Calgary community by supporting and investing in EvenStart," says Riza.
In Edmonton, the office sponsored Meals on Wheels' 12 Days of Christmas program for the second year. Meals on Wheels is a non-profit organization providing nutritious meals and programs promoting health, well-being, and independence to clients. Serving primarily seniors in the community, the organization supports those who need assistance in cooking, getting groceries, or adjusting to special dietary restrictions. When asked why Meals on Wheels was an organization of choice for the office Paul Harris says, "this is a fantastic organization that has been extremely busy this year in response to COVID-19 as they deliver to vulnerable, homebound, and isolated Edmontonians." The team's donation provided a meal of meatloaf wellington to participants.
As we travel North, we find the Whitehorse team who has supported the Yukon Hospital Foundation since its inception – which Managing Director and Partner, Mark Pike, says must be at least 20 years. Every holiday season the Foundation hosts their Festival of Trees Gala, and while this year's event looked different than its traditional set-up, Crowe MacKay was still eager to sponsor their revised event: The Winter Wonderland Walk. With the increased demand on the medical system this year there was no hesitation in continuing to partner with the Foundation. "We have all been personally touched by the health care system and see the importance of it every day," says Mark.
From all of us at Crowe MacKay we wish you and your family a happy holiday season. Stay safe and spread kindness to those around you.