MCC making a difference locally, across Ontario and around the World

 
Associate Executive Director Kim Lester showing the group a shipment of relief kits, set to ship overseas just days after our site visit.

Associate Executive Director Kim Lester showing the group a shipment of relief kits, set to ship overseas just days after our site visit.

Recently, some staff and volunteers from Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation (KWCF) were joined by a group from Social Venture Partners (SVP) to visit the Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) offices, warehouse and thrift shop on Kent Street. There, we were able to witness first-hand the important work MCC does for people locally, across Ontario and around the world.

Associate Executive Director, Kim Lester and Program Director, Wendy Adema gave an insightful presentation into MCC’s operations and the various projects it is involved with, some of which KWCF and our Fundholders have supported.

Several funds at KWCF have supported MCC’s “Handmade for Change” program, which provides advanced sewing skills for women at Grand Valley Institution for Women, and “The Raw Carrot Soup Enterprise”, which creates meaningful employment and community for persons on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) in Waterloo Region, who typically face barriers to traditional employment. “The Raw Carrot Soup Enterprise” was also one of three local charities that catered KWCF’s most recent Open House.

On our tour, we learned a great deal about the effort and time it takes to prepare and ship hygiene, school and relief kits, particularly when it comes to ensuring the kits contain the proper supplies and are packed to effectively utilize space within shipping containers. For example, strategically placing pencils and pens on one side of a kit can make room for several additional kits to fit into one container, saving on shipping costs and delivering more kits to where they are needed.

 
Staff and volunteers from KWCF and SVP assisting in checking school kits to ensure they had the right supplies and were packed properly.

Staff and volunteers from KWCF and SVP assisting in checking school kits to ensure they had the right supplies and were packed properly.

 

As the tour took us through the warehouse, we saw volunteers hard at work sorting items for the thrift shop. The MCC thrift shops in Ontario raised $4.5 million last year and kept over 600,000 cubic feet of items out of landfills. In fiscal 2018, MCC spent $3.9 million on high impact Ontario programs, including over $400,000 for the local Walking Alongside People in Poverty program.

We also had the opportunity to pack and inspect some of the school kits, and participated in knotting two of MCC’s iconic relief quilts. MCC staff explained that the quilts shipped last year alone if stacked, would make a pile higher than the CN Tower!

 
We also had the opportunity to help knot two of MCC’s iconic relief quilts.

We also had the opportunity to help knot two of MCC’s iconic relief quilts.

 

MCC is currently involved in over 700 projects in 57 countries around the world in conjunction with over 500 global partners. In Ontario, MCC works to build stronger and safer communities by walking towards reconciliation with Indigenous Neighbours, alongside newcomers building a new life in Canada, and supporting those impacted by crime or facing the realities of poverty and homelessness. MCC has many opportunities for people who want to get involved.Visit www.mcccanada.ca to learn more about volunteer opportunities, items that are needed for kits, financial donation opportunities and more.