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housing

Do Ya Wanna Build a House?

charity, FAM By May 15, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Women Build with Habitat For HumanityThere have been many times over the years when I’ve wanted Elsa’s powers. Wouldn’t it be incredible if you could build a whole mansion with the flick of a hand like Disney’s Frozen star? Or maybe master a project that’s a tad less extensive – like tiling a floor, using a jigsaw or hanging a light fixture. There are thousands of people across the country who need housing, live in poverty and feel isolated. The power of community and charity can not only transform not only the individuals in need, but also empower the people who want to help others.  There are problem-solving women across Canada who can help while working as a team and developing construction skills in the process. The women build with Habitat for Humanity does just this. Perfection!

Habitat for Humanity Women BuildWhat family doesn’t want simple, decent and affordable housing? As an ambassador and fan of Procter & Gamble, I have been asked to represent UrbanMommies and put together a team of women in the Vancouver area to build a home!  The program is part of a three year partnership totalling $900,000, that will see P&G support Habitat’s family home builds throughout the county, on behalf of its Household Needs brands such as Tide, Swiffer and Mr. Clean. This year there are builds happening in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal and approximately 350 new builds are expected across Canada in 2014.

After a group of ten women (and any UrbanDaddies who wish to help) participate in a build in Richmond in September,  P&G will offer cleaning kits to Habitat for Humanity affiliates to help ready the newly built homes for move-in once construction is complete, and will provide welcome baskets packed full of household products to each family moving into their new Habitat home. I am going to try to slip in a few Rainbow Loom treasures from my kids in as well. Because every new home needs some of those.

Habitat Women BuildHabitat for Humanity is a special charity, and I love that one hundred percent of all administrative and fundraising costs are paid for by the operation of nine ReStores in the lower mainland. It’s great when not a dime is wasted.

So… Do ya wanna build a house? Join our team in September for a one-day build! Learn new skills, bond, help others, and be a community. Because love is an open door. (You didn’t think I’d let the Frozen theme go that easily did you?) Please email us to indicate your interest in helping out and I will be in touch!

All Women Build photos provided by Habitat for Humanity.

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Ronald McDonald House Vancouver

charity, FAM By December 14, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

ROnald McDonald House VancouverThank goodness I have friends with older girls.  If not I wouldn’t have known about One Direction.  And when I met Emma, a resident of the Ronald McDonald House Vancouver, I wouldn’t have been able to connect nearly as well.  I always end up at RMH around the Christmas season.  Last year the boys and I delivered new unwrapped toys and my kids refused to leave for 2 hours after having an extraordinary time playing with the other children.

This year, I was drawing on mugs to wrap for the house so that families would have something handcrafted, homey and festive for the holidays.  And wow.  Totally appropriate!  These parents devour coffee.  Of course they do.  Many don’t sleep much between their childrens’ treatments, and with going to the hospital and giving attention and education to siblings also living in the house, there’s not much free time.  I, too, am a coffee addict (with apparently no good excuse) and jumped at the chance to try the new McCafe take-home coffee at this event.  Little did I know I’d be transformed by positive, loving children at the same time.

A new arrival from Powell River was among the most polite boys I have ever met.  “Please”, “thank you”, smiles and an artistic talent that made me stare.  He was wearing a Ronald McDonald House shirt and decided to draw the logo on his mug.  (I drew a bunch of sunshines and happy stuff as it was the only way my heart wouldn’t break – especially when I made eye contact with the other moms there.)  If I could have purchased his mug, I would have.  He was so proud.  With shining eyes and meticulous wrapping, he joined me by the Christmas tree for a photo.  One little girl took her place snuggled under the tree.  Yes – she was definitely a gift.  Cute as a button I think the expression goes.

I didn’t want to leave.  I wanted to teach a dance class.  Cook a meal for the families.  Lead the kids in a theatre sports game.  The experience just solidified my affinity with the charity and I know I will be back shortly.  There is so much good that we can all do and when I visited the house in London, Ontario I realized what families with severely ill children might need.  You can always drop the following to your local RMH.  (There are 317 houses in 31 countries throughout the world and in 2011 , there were 513 families served worldwide.).

– Tupperware to transport leftovers to the hospital so parents don’t have to leave the bedside of their children
– Toys for Christmas and the holidays – often parents cannot get away to shop – even for siblings staying at the houses.
– A hot meal for the house (you can book a date, buy groceries and cook)
– Volunteer to teach a yoga class, fitness training, do a craft or share one of your talents.
– Drop off some treats or baked goods for families to enjoy between hospital visits (label the ingredients).
– And then there’s coffee… but now that McDonald’s has launched it’s McCafe Premium Roast take home coffee, the need will be much less great.

I was so happy to learn that McDonald’s supplies so much (besides the beds and positive atmosphere for families in need) to the houses.  Even suppliers and staff run frequent dinner-cooking nights.  Pretty cool.  And seriously?  After meeting the happy kids and being with the parents?  No better place on earth.  Unless you’re not a visitor.  As volunteers at the houses say “It’s the best place ever that you hope you never have to stay in.”

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