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04/28/2023
Giving Back/Volunteering | Newcomers | Success Stories

Anyone wishing to join these amazing volunteers?

Here is a look at our Donations Dream Team!

Volunteers, Emma Jackson and Amy Cordsen had a great idea that quickly grew into an amazing reality! Emma and Amy – the Donations ‘Dream Team’ volunteer leaders began working and planning together in October 2016, having met at a KEYS volunteer orientation session.

With generous support from Keystone Property Management, by December 1st – the Donations Depot opened its doors and began providing a very important service to refugee families settling in Kingston. Government-assisted refugees (GARs) are provided with a basic level of financial and material support from the Canadian government. But this only scratches the surface of what families need to set up their new lives and home here in Kingston. So these two amazing women put their heads together and came up with a solution.

Emma and Amy had the vision to create a donations centre that would provide a fun, free and respectful shopping experience for the newcomer families. Families would be able to ‘shop’ for items – generously donated by Kingston residents – such as kitchen supplies, pots, pans, dishes, small appliances and other household items, as well as for winter clothing. And recognizing that some items are best to have new – such as bedding – sheets, duvets and pillows – an amazing fundraising effort was undertaken (called ‘Sweet Dreams Project’ – find them on Facebook) which has to date raised over $3000.

Emma Jackson has been the driving force behind the store location. She has extraordinary organizational skills, an amazing ability to multi-task and manages to do it all with a big smile on her face! Emma coordinates a team of more than 20 volunteers to staff the store and also to deliver the items to the family’s home. To date, 27 newcomer families have been accessing the Donations Depot to set up their homes.

All the volunteers deserve recognition for their contribution to the success of this initiative – we’d like to mention Kade Medd, Penny Paterson, Jerry Doyle, Nathalie Banger, Ian Hunt in particular for their regular involvement and commitment. Amy Cordsen has been the main brain behind the fundraising initiative and Sweet Dreams project.

She is an amazing networker, with a very clever and compassionate set of marketing skills, and she does it all as a new mother with her youngest usually strapped on her front while she works! Amy has reached out through her many contacts and connections to both individuals and local businesses. She has used social media as well as good old fashioned street sales.

Anyone wishing to join these amazing volunteers, or wanting to donate items can contact KEYS Job Centre at 613-546-5559 or email us at info@keys.ca.

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