Friday, November 25, 2011

Every little bit

It turns out that changing the world is trickier than I thought.

My big plan of feeding all of Winnipeg over the holidays (well, not quite) hasn’t exactly turned out as I planned… but I’m not giving up yet.

I’m still convinced people do want to do good—but as I’ve mentioned time and time again on this blog, there are only so many hours in the day.

The first problem was that I underestimated just how busy students are, especially as the end of term assignments start raining down. Everyone has deadlines and jobs to worry about, so finding the time to get organized and even receive feedback from people who want to help has been challenging. 

Image from
I think this year the best course of action will be to at least have each of the three CreComm sections sign-up to feed one family. Every little bit counts. Next year I’ll be more prepared and give myself plenty of time for the preparation that goes into organizing an initiative like this.

It’s a bit frustrating because I want to do it all. I’ve realized that what’s important is not making this particular project work--- it’s about doing something. Anything.

I think it’s important to point out that there are several students who are giving back in their own ways. Some have told me they make annual donations to Winnipeg charities and at least two of my classmates are signed up to work at soup kitchens over the holidays.

So, hopefully you’re inspired to donate your time or money this holiday, too. Check out the following sites for more details.

Siloam Mission:

Winnipeg Harvest:

Christmas Cheer Board

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A CreComm Call to Action!

I’ve got a full plate with more than enough to do, but this holiday season I’m making an effort to fill up others’ plates—literally.

Ever since I wrote a column referencing Winnipeg Harvest, the stats I found out have been weighing on my mind:
          -The organization provides emergency food assistance to nearly 58,000 people a month across Manitoba. This is up 21 per cent over the same period last year.
         -Fifty-one per cent of Winnipeg Harvest clients are children.

There are plenty of ways to help out your fellow Winnipeggers, including dropping off food donations at dozens of locations around the city (including Staples and Winners stores).
Shopping list suggestions from the Christmas Cheer Board include:

Cans of Soup
Cans of Vegetables
Jelly powder
Cans of Fruit
Macaroni & cheese
Spaghetti sauce

Or, buy an unwrapped toy and drop if off at any fire department as part of the Toy Mountain campaign. The Salvation Army will distribute them this holiday season.

The ball is rolling…  
Section 1 of Creative Communications is going to sponsor a family through the Christmas Cheer Board.

It’s a good start, but we can do better. I’ll be talking to other CreComm class reps to get this started…We're going to make a big difference this year.

How about a competition? Which class can bring in the most donations?...  Does anyone have some other suggestions?

PR Power
I’m putting the lessons we’ve learned in PR to good use:

We’ve got the Identification Principle (what’s in it for me):
The official title of CreComm Food Drive Champions!!! (plus that warm fuzzy feeling you get knowing that you’re making a positive difference in your city).

And perhaps most important is the Action Principle. People want to do good. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t want to help others out… but actually doing it is another story.

I understand that everyone’s got busy lives and a limited budget, so it’s my mission to make helping easy… I’ll figure out the details.

If anyone wants to help, leave a comment!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembrance Day road trip...

I just got back from attending a Remembrance Day ceremony in Arborg, Manitoba (about an hour north of Winnipeg). I'm back a little later than expected (it was a full day) but am glad I had the chance to go to a ceremony outside of the city. The sense of community in the small town was amazing -- unlike any service I have ever attended before.  

Image from
Six WWII veterans still live in the town and they were all in attendance today. My great-uncle was from Arborg and his picture is mounted on the wall of the legion there. He died in World War II at the age of 22. He is buried in Berlin and no one from my family has ever been to his gravesite.

Today during the service a retired RCMP officer gave a presentation about his travels to Europe. On his latest trip he visited many military cemeteries and had prepared a slide show with some pictures for today's special occasion.

Photo by Glenn Syme
One of the very first pictures he showed was a picture of my great-uncle’s gravestone. No one in my family has ever been to see it and it came as a shock to see his name etched in stone.

Photo by Glenn Syme

Photo by Glenn Syme
Needless to say, it was a Remembrance Day I will never forget.

Friday, November 4, 2011

So many stories...

I've been spending a lot of my time writing a Remembrance Day article for journalism class. I interviewed a sergeant corporal who joined the army when he was 19 years old (he's in his 40's now). I thought since he is a high-ranking officer, he would want to talk most about what he's seen and all of his accomplishments. Instead our conversation focused on his son who followed in his footsteps and joined the army when he was 18 years old (just a few years ago).

The hardest part for me has been trying to focus my article. There are so many stories within this story. Based on how my article is shaping up, I'll be sticking with the father-son theme, but what about the wife and mother story? I can't imagine what she goes through when both of the men in her life are overseas. It reminded me that Remembrance Day is about paying tribute to the families of soldiers as well. I've decided to ask her for an interview, too... I'm interested in what she has to say about her life and the other side of military life. So many stories, so little time.