In January I started a volunteer group called Because Edmonton Cares. Each month I try to find a volunteer outing suitable for a group and then people attend based on their schedules and interest in the outing.
Our first outing was to the Edmonton ICE on Whyte Festival. We served hot chocolate and coffee and the proceeds went to YESS - the Youth Emergency Shelter Society. It was REALLY cold that night but thankfully we were in a heated tent. It really made me admire those volunteers who were outside all night working at the entrance or the massive ice slide. There were 6 of us that attended the first outing and the majority of us attempted the ice slide and had a blast on it!
In February we went to the Mustard Seed to host Popcorn and a Movie night for their guests. There were 12 of us for this outing and at the beginning we weren't sure what we would all do but we ended up finding jobs and making ourselves useful. I ended up having a nice chat with a gentleman about how often he uses The Mustard Seed and we discussed movies and the Oscars. It reminded me about my days working for The Mustard Seed in Calgary and how much everyone has in common no matter where they sleep at night. I really enjoyed doing something small that really made someone else's night. The guests LOVE popcorn night so I'd be more than happy to attend this again, next time maybe we can spice things up a little and take some special flavourings!
After both outings I received some great feedback from the BEC members. I simply can't express how emotional it makes me to see the people we are helping happy, and the members of our group happy...it's a win/win for everyone involved!
In the near future I'm hoping to start up a Because Edmonton Cares website where I can talk about what we do and why we do it. I'm hoping it will help get the word out so that we have so many people interested in helping, and so many charities asking for our assistance that we do multiple outings a month! But, that's a ways down the road and right now I'm just so pleased we have the group that we do; wonderful people who want to make a difference in this city and do so with a smile on their faces and warmth in their hearts.