5 Days of Christmas: Northern Ops
Over this past weekend I had the opportunity to volunteer my time to Grande Prairie Odyssey House. Odyssey House is a women’s emergency shelter. Over the past 7 years they have been fundraising tirelessly to build a much needed second stage shelter. The second stage shelter will be open for residents beginning in the new year and is 14 units that range from 1 to 3 bedrooms. All units are outfitted with the basic necessities of a home. This is where my volunteering time was spent!
After hearing about all the wonderful things that the Calgary office was doing I was feeling apprehensive about how fulfilling setting up housing units would feel, like there should be more, and more meaningful tasks that I could be trying to find as a representation of myself and Britt Land but let me tell you I was WRONG!
I arrived at 9 am to a part of the city I had never been – not even sure if I was in the right spot. There was a room full of welcoming Rotary volunteers happy to have an extra pair of hands. I didn’t really think that there would be a lot involved, after all we are only setting up a few housing units right? Again, I was WRONG! The common area of the building was stacked full of boxes containing everything these units would require. I promptly got to it, opening the boxes and taking stock of what was all there and organizing things into 14 unit piles.
With every box I opened I quickly began to realize all the comforts that I take for granted – waking up in my own bed covered with soft sheets, blankets and pillows; reaching for my own towels; using my own kitchen appliances, dishes and cutlery to prepare and eat my breakfast from; the table I sit at to enjoy those meals. I quickly realized that for us (even in this economic down turn) we have these items and creature comforts to ease each day’s tasks. For the 14 families that will be moving into these units, these units are their fresh start, their future to build on. It was then that I felt like even when these tasks and volunteer time seemed minimal to me they are monumental to others and that is the true spirit of Christmas…giving your time and love, a piece of yourself, a piece of hope and some happiness, not just to those that are visibly in need, but to all.
It’s standard at this time of year to hear the requests for volunteers, the theme of giving beyond the retail experience, and being grateful and spreading that Christmas cheer. Not being a very festive person, I often spend the Christmas season dreading all the typical tasks associated with the holidays, but this year I have to give a great big hi-five to Britt Land for living and encouraging the culture that we have – accepting, giving, supportive, encouraging. A true inspiration to live by the whole year round and immensely proud to be a part of this team.
Merry Christmas to all!
A huge Britt Land thank you to Theresa for finding such a great opportunity for promoting volunteerism and living out our Core Values!
If you would like to get involved with the Odyssey House you can do so through a number of avenues. Volunteer Coordinator Lacey Bowers (780.538.1332) can help you get set up doing everything from cooking to cleaning, after school care, family education, running booths – there are tons of ways to give your time to helping an amazing organization.
Donations of clothing and toys can be given throughout the whole year. Towels, sheets, facecloths, socks, hair accessories, underwear, gift cards for groceries, and so much more!
You can also become an Community Ambassador of Odyssey House to help put an end to domestic violence.
If you’re looking for information or support please contact the 24/7 crisis line at 780.532.2672