United Way of Saskatoon and Area holds winter edition of Day of Caring

The United Way of Saskatoon and Area held its first winter edition of Day of Caring on Wednesday. (Nicole Di Donato/CTV News)

The United Way of Saskatoon and Area held its first winter edition of Day of Caring on Wednesday.

Day of Caring, which usually takes place in June, is about bringing people together and connecting volunteers with agencies that need an extra hand.

“We did think it was a chance for folks to connect with one another, having been through what we’ve all been through the last 19 months, in a safe way just to reconnect ourselves with what’s going on in the community and of course offering an opportunity for people to reach out and help one another,” said Sheri Benson, CEO of United Way of Saskatoon and Area.

Benson said there are over 11 projects across Saskatoon with partners and over 100 volunteers happening on Wednesday for Day of Caring.

“It’s one of those win, win, wins. I think the community wins, I think the businesses that are involved and their employees get a chance to sort of do a team building event while they are making a difference in their community and of course the whole community wins when we bring resources together to help,” she said.

Saskatchewan Blue Cross is teaming up with Global Gathering Place for Day of Caring to help paint and revitalize its office space. The office is also being decorated for Christmas and Christmas kits are being assembled for newcomers.

“There are many tasks that get left behind because we’re always focused on meeting the urgent needs of our clients and tasks such as refreshing and painting our classroom and cleaning up our children’s space or even decorating for the holidays, are some that are kind of (things) put aside so, we are so grateful to receive support,” said Belma Podrug, executive director of Global Gathering Place.

Global Gathering Place is an organization that supports refugees and immigrants who call Saskatoon home, including helping them with language skills, housing and employment.

Podrug said these projects will not only help the organization, but will help both staff and clients feel a sense of belonging.

She added that being able to get into the Christmas spirit at the office is important.

“This is going to be first experience for many of our people, many are refugees and immigrants who are new to this community, and we want to share the best parts of Canadian culture,” Podrug said.

“There are many traditions that we’re proud of and Christmas is all about generosity and kindness and sharing the happiness and the cheer.”

Saskatchewan Blue Cross is the sponsor of Day of Caring and has collaborated on various projects with United Way of Saskatoon and Area for over 30 years.

“It’s this idea of togetherness and coming together to tackle some of the challenges that might exist in the community to really make this place a better place for everyone and so, that’s what’s really unique about (Day of Caring) and why we really enjoy playing a role in this,” said Trevor Broughton, community engagement specialist for Saskatchewan Blue Cross.

Broughton added that there are many ways people can give back that don’t involve money.

“It’s about investments of time and energy and support in many forms and so, bringing together the broader business community to tackle some of this stuff is really important and it just highlights how we can make a difference in many different ways.”