During this time of year, many teams across Syncrude come together to give thanks and give back. Here are just a few examples of how employees are making a difference and supporting United Way agencies this holiday season.
This year, the Maintenance Services Team for Base Mine and Aurora kicked off the season by donating important winter items to seven charities in Fort McMurray.
“After seeing the Bitumen Processing team filling up backpacks with school supplies for the Children’s Centre earlier this year, our team was inspired to give back,” said Kerry Barwick, Maintenance Services Manager.
They collected items such as socks, mitts, scarves, gloves, and hats. Organizers were inspired by the enthusiasm and generosity of employees. “The folks in the Central Maintenance Shop ran with the idea of giving back and turned it into a competition within their division,” said Myra Chippett, Senior Administrative Assistant, Maintenance Services. “They raised enough money to buy the bulk of items we donated.”
Initially the team aimed to deliver goods to three United Way agencies, but because so many items were collected, they were able to donate to seven including: the Centre of Hope, Stepping Stones Youth Home, the Women’s Shelter, and Pastew Place Detox Centre. They also provided donations to the Salvation Army, which will be distributed at their shelters and group homes.
“When people think of the Salvation Army, they often think of the thrift store but we are so much more,” said Carrie Ryan-Colbourne, Emergency Shelter Supervisor at the Salvation Army. “We operate two emergency shelters, a community and family services department, a soup kitchen, the Housing First Initiative and five group homes to support adults with disabilities.”
The Salvation Army is the largest non-government direct provider of social services in Canada.
This year, their most utilized programs were those within the community and family services department, assisting 4,831 adults and 1,020 children from April to October. The department offers a wide range of services from housing and emergency food hampers to helping to get utilities re-connected, paying for a seniors prescriptions, providing bus tickets, assisting with certifications like Oil Sands Safety Association and purchasing work boots when a job is offered.
“Our programs are varied because it could be anyone walking through our doors looking for that hand up. It doesn’t have to be someone who is homeless or in a low-income job. Circumstances can change in a heartbeat,” said Carrie.
The Salvation Army, as well as many other organizations across the region, accepts monetary, clothing and furniture donations as well as regular volunteers throughout the year.
Bitumen Processing Maintenance
Bitumen Processing Maintenance, including the Winterization Maintenance team and supporting contractors, also came together to help support our community. This year the teams raised funds for two local families to provide gifts and food over the holidays.
The teams also collected and delivered winter jackets/snowsuits to the Children’s Centre, and filled 60 stockings with necessities and holiday treats for the Centre of Hope.
Syncrude Community Investment
Syncrude was proud to support the Fort McMurray Children’s Centre with a $20,000 donation towards their Toddler Drop-in Program and annual Family Christmas Banquet.
Syncrude’s gift allows us to provide transportation for several families to attend our Drop-In Program, who otherwise would not be able to attend,
Executive Director, Children’s Centre
As part of the donation, the Centre is also providing a holiday dinner to all families within the program.
“For most of our children, this will be the only holiday event they will attend,” she said. “It is so exciting to see all the little ones as they enjoy a hot meal and visit with Santa.