It all added up to a summer of goodwill, as Winnipeg’s Union members contributed to social and community services their colleagues, families, and friends have relied upon throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Winnipeg Labour Council and United Way Winnipeg’s Labour Program created the #126donations initiative as a way for the city’s Labour movement to engage together in a physically distanced way and benefit their shared communities.
The idea: perform acts of kindness throughout the summer, leading up to Labour Day 2020.
The Winnipeg Labour Council would then celebrate members’ efforts by contributing 126 donations to United Way’s agency partners to honour the 126 years the Council has been supporting community.
The initiative inspired a movement, and Union members gave their time and energy, sharing their compassion on social media with the hashtag #126donations.
“While we missed our traditional celebration of Unions and solidarity for Labour Day, we didn’t want our community connection to be lost as well – which is why we came up with the #126donations initiative,” explained Melissa Dvorak, President of the Winnipeg Labour Council.
“It was so uplifting to see that not only Labour but also friends and family (and even complete strangers) got involved to perform acts of kindness. It was a way (during COVID-19 public health restrictions) that we could still help others in a safe manner – but be part of a larger community action.”
The acts of kindness came in all shapes and forms:
- One Union member sorted and re-purposed her nephew’s old books, toys and action figures and passed them along to eight different families.
- Others gathered pet supplies and food for a no-kill animal shelter.
- Some Union members helped relatives and neighbours with yard work and other chores.
- A number of participants donated blood.
- A group dropped off food hampers at schools for families with school-aged students
- And so much more!
In return, the Winnipeg Labour Council donated more than 50 packages filled with urgently needed items to organizations like the South Winnipeg Family Information Centre, The Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute, and the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba.
Another 51 agencies received $25 gift certificates for a Unionized grocery store in their mailboxes, delivered by Unionized Postal workers.
“It was an incredible experience to deliver our special packages to the United Way Winnipeg agency partners. Everyone was surprised and grateful for their gift and happy to hear about the Labour-United Way Winnipeg connection,” Dvorak said.
“It was also amazing to see that almost all the agency partners were still up and running – meeting their clients’ needs, all while at the same time dealing with COVID-19 and additional restrictions. It was clear most of these folks don’t have an option to work from home. Their work is always essential.”
United Way Winnipeg is grateful to all activists, leaders, and Union members who took part in this unique community initiative. It’s incredible what Winnipeggers can accomplish when we work stronger together in a united way.
To learn more about these acts of kindness, follow #126donations on Facebook or Instagram.