At Two Small Men, we’re big believers in the power and importance of community building. We’ve been providing our services, free of charge, to hardworking organizations within the communities where we live and operate for years. It’s important for us to live up to our name in giving back to our fellow Canadians who allow us to do what we do best: namely, moving you into your new home!
In 2019, we decided to kick things up a notch. For several months, we’ve been working hard on developing the Community of Big Hearts – and on November 11th, we launched the first episode of the Community of Big Hearts Podcast, hosted by our President, Stu Starkey.
Another piece of the Community of Big Hearts puzzle was to get our staff more involved. We know that it can be difficult to balance work, life, and community. We wanted our Two Small Men team members to feel empowered to be a part of their community without it costing them their precious personal and family time. That’s why we rolled out our Volunteer Time Off program in November. We’re donating 1% of our staff’s time to charitable causes annually: that means every team member at Two Small Men will spend 16 paid hours, or two full days of office working hours per year, helping out an organization in their community.
We’re proud to share our staff’s stories. Keep reading to learn more about Lillian, and her time volunteering with Soup Sisters in Winnipeg.
Lillian, why did you choose to donate your time to Soup Sisters?
L: Last year I was able to help coordinate a move for the Soup Sisters in Calgary! I remember there were a lot of moving parts to get this job done but their team was so lovely to deal with. When I was speaking to one of the organization’s members, the cause stood out for me. I like to advocate for a healthy lifestyle and understand that sometimes healthy options are not always the most cost-effective options with organizations on a budget or fixed income. I loved that this program educated individuals about the efforts being made and also prepared healthy warm dishes for those who needed it. I am already booked for another Soup Sisters activity and have invited my friends to participate with their young children. It’s never too late or early to start making a difference, Soup Sisters has set up the program to include a variety of ages for this program which was a bonus!
What was the experience like?
L: It was thorough in getting information to all those involved, we had a speaker come in and tell us what Soup Sisters was able to do for her, how it was a warm meal during a dark time for her. I think it shed a little bit of light on some of the situations that life can throw at you – that you never know when you will need an organization like this. I loved that this was a group based activity so a little bit of everything for everyone: my daughter, sister and I were all able to contribute. At the end we were able to share a meal together with all the other volunteers and reflect on our time together and experience.
What meaning does community involvement carry for you?
L: As a child I moved around a lot, my family always had to find ways to make new friends in a new city, and to me investing in your community is the best way to do that. Having activities and experiences that bring you together makes for strong ties: this can be anything from participating as a volunteer in a community centre, or working with an organization.
How does volunteering impact you?
L: Everyday I am able to go home from my job, to my family. We have a roof over our head, and food in our stomachs; while these are considered basic needs, these are not something everyone is able to easily access. I think we often forget these things, especially in the everyday busyness of life. Having these reminders and sharing these experiences are in my opinion, the best way to make people aware, have them experience gratitude and do something good.
Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
L: I love the Volunteer Time Off program. I think volunteering is something we can all overlook, especially with our operation being full time. I also think that as busy people, we can often push these things to the side, or wait until the holidays. Having your work being a supportive place that encourages you to give back, on their time really makes volunteering and being involved in your community more accessible, and encouraging to be doing this year round, not just when people are really in need of extra help.
Soup Sisters is a non-profit charitable social enterprise dedicated to providing comfort to women, children and youth through the making, sharing and donating of soup. Soup Sisters was founded in 2009 by Calgarian Sharon Hapton who had a very simple belief in the power of soup as a nurturing and nourishing gesture that could make a tangible difference. Hapton believed that two of society’s most prevalent issues, domestic abuse and youth homelessness would benefit from the care and warmth that comes in a bowl of soup. A powerful message that says ‘we care’ is now being delivered to over 40 residential shelters across the country through home-made delicious soup made with the finest ingredients.
Thousands of community people are coming together across the country to produce over 10,000 servings of fresh and delicious soups for women, children and youth each month. Since March of 2009, over 2 million servings of soup have been delivered to shelters from East to West, and there is a growing network of more than 50,000 Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers participants across the country.
To learn more, visit https://www.soupsisters.org/