Sunday, May 16, 2010

Project Elmwood: Success!

Yesterday I got to help HOT 103 collect toys (and other kids items) for their Project Elmwood campaign. I was super excited to be a part of this project, because this is the kind of stuff that I live for!

I started the morning off by trading cars with my sister for the day (She has a Honda Element, and I have a two-door Chevy Cobalt; it's cute, but not functional for this kind of work!) and before I could even think about this project, I had to stop for my morning coffee. (I love you coffee...) I knew that it was going to be a long day, but I had no clue just how long... (Winnipeggers, you amazed me with your piles and piles of donations!)

I began my commute around the city at 9:30 am. With my notes and directions that I copied from google maps, I spent the morning picking up donations by myself. Heather, my sister, was going to come with me, but her husband was golfing and we didn't want to lug her two-year old daughter along for the ride. (That wouldn't have been enjoyable for poor Kennedy!) I honestly didn't mind doing it alone though; I cranked the music and sang really loud, and I made a pile of videos with my camera that I was going to edit into a vlog post. (I've scrapped that idea though, because my imovie editing skills are poor...) When it came to doing the pickups, I didn't find any of the items too heavy, or too big to load. I was fine.

It was really neat to see how Ace Burpee can rally a crowd to do something like this. (I respect that man for all of the charity work he does!)

At about 11:00 am I dropped off my first load of donations to the storage locker that the daycare rented. Our first haul was awesome, and Lucille (the woman who runs the daycare) was extremely humbled by the outpouring of support.

It was getting hot, and I decided to take a little break before venturing into St James and Charleswood. I went to Starbucks to get a shaken passion fruit lemonade. While I was there, I got a call from my friend Lee; he said that he had just finished golfing and he wanted to to know if I still needed help. Of course I took him up on his offer, as the pick-ups were taking me a lot longer than I originally thought they would, and I knew that two people would be better than one.

I met up with Lee, unloaded the items I had in the back into his car, and we ventured out into Sunny St. James and Charleswood. (I have to note that both of us are not overly familiar with that part of town, so we did our best to navigate our pickups based on the notes I made. We got lost about a thousand times, and we did a lot of back-tracking, but it was fun!)

At one point my friend Caitlin called me and told me about a charity garage sale on Portage, that had offered to donate a ton of stuff to us if we could get down there right away. Lee and I couldn't believe it, because we had just made a stop a block away from that garage sale, so it was like fate! We got into the Element, and made it there in about two minutes. The volunteers at the garage sale and Caitlin and her friends helped rummage through the items, and we got three or four huge boxes full of kids stuff! (When I offered to make a monetary donation to the garage sale, the woman declined. She told me that they were glad to help the Elmwood Daycare get back on their feet!)

It was truly astounding: charities helping charities.

All in all, Project Elmwood took about eight or nine hours to complete. (It might have been less time if I had better navigation skills...) But, we had a great time. We collected so many toys and kids items, that we almost filled the entire storage locker from top to bottom. Lucille and Dennis were thrilled with the outpouring of generosity from Winnipeggers, who gave stuff like TV's, bikes, tables, books, etc. -- It was truly touching to be a part of.

I am still getting calls and messages from people wanting to donate. -- If you are one of those people, email me at and I will get you in touch with Lucille!

This day wouldn't have been as successful without the help of Lee McCarthy and Caitlin MacGregor, thank you guys!

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