Alectra Utilities

June 25, 2009

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Christmas Tree

"I believe it all started when a woman who worked here heard on the radio about a family who needed help,” says Colleen Pearse, Administrative Assistant, Metering & Conservation at Guelph Hydro. "We have been involved ever since.”

"Participation from employees is completely voluntary,” says Colleen. They typically get enough interest that they can adopt multiple families and last year adopted six. "It’s a free-for-all around the Christmas tree when it’s time to decide who will purchase what gifts!”

Once Guelph Hydro receives information about the families they have adopted, employees decorate a Christmas tree with items from the "needs” and "wants” lists supplied in their package from The Children’s Foundation. Employees who would like to participate are invited to select a tag and purchase a gift. "If it’s a larger item,” says Colleen, "employees will often team up and purchase the gift together."

"It’s really great to see everyone come together to help our families when they need it most,” says Colleen. "We recognize that our participation not only benefits the community, but the program also provides an amazing opportunity for team-building. That feeling we get doing good is definitely a morale booster!”

Guelph Hydro uses a multi-prong approach when it comes to supporting Adopt-A-Family. Throughout the year, proceeds from raffles, lunch get-togethers and other initiatives are set aside and used to purchase gifts that may not get selected off the tree, as well as grocery gift cards for families. This helps manage expenses for those who choose to take part.

"If there is more money than we anticipated, we will call Foundation to see if we can adopt another family or help out in another way,” says Colleen.

As a result of Guelph Hydro’s involvement in Adopt-A-Family, they have learned more about other Children’s Foundation programs and the employee group recently became involved in Food & Friends, collecting donations at lunch events to support student nutrition in community schools.

"We are so lucky to have an enthusiastic and dedicated organization like Guelph Hydro as a supporter of the Adopt-A-Family program for so long,” says Glenna Banda, Executive Director of The Children’s Foundation. "We are truly impressed by their creative approaches to participation and think they are an amazing example for other businesses wanting to get involved.”

Story contributed by Jaime Bickerton.

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