Long time, no talk!

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Hi Folks; long time no talk!

With 2017 well underway some of you may have noticed less social media presence and response times becoming a little longer. I would like to assure you that: it is temporary, it is an adjustment phase and we will continue to work diligently towards our organizational goals and serving our community! As some of you may already know Maegan’s maternity leave has ended and she has returned to work while I am currently working, what seems like, the equivalent of a full time job trying to find a job, so we ask for your patience as we work through this period. We have made no secret of the fact that we, like many in our community, are basically one paycheck or in my case, one EI cheque away from needing the services of an organization like Linking Lives; which is what motivates and informs our work. For this reason in the next few months we will be looking for some volunteers to get more involved in direct client service, along with organizational, fundraising, awareness and administrative capacities; if you can help in one of these areas please contact us to discuss upcoming opportunities.

We LOVE our Volunteers!!

We held our 1st Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on January 15th and were so pleased that many of you were able to be there! We cannot thank Paul Porter, Velvet and all the Porter’s family enough for their kindness and generosity in hosting us for both this & the Christmas Kindness event! In the movies, men like Paul Porter wear capes and leap tall buildings; he is a true community hero! Big shout out to Mike Bravener as well for the wonderful entertainment. For the benefit of those not in attendance I wanted to share the recap of our first six months activities and accomplishments here and would like to take this opportunity to thank EVERYONE who has helped us, in any way, to achieve them.

In the past six months, thanks to you & many others we have:

  • Hosted a community baby shower for a sweet lady who lacked a support network-great links were made & she spoke at the dinner expressing how that has positively impacted her life.
  • Held a community birthday party for a little boy whose Mom’s biggest concern was that if she held it, no one would come-Many of you attended & made that such a memorable day for Blake.
  • We have collected and distributed: furniture, diapers, wipes, clothing and other material resources to 40-60+ local families/individuals in need.
  • We have provided trucks & manpower to move several people into more adequate or more affordable housing.
  • Through your generosity we have been able to provide somewhere between $6000.00 & $8000.00+ in grocery cards & groceries.
  • As we believe strongly that collaborations between organizations are key to poverty reduction we have partnered with or assisted clients of, several other agencies such as: Gignoo Transition House, Ability NB, NB Association of Community Living, Liberty Lane, along with the folks from the SUN committee, Downtown Outreach, and Mental Health & Addiction among others!
  • We reached out to & met with many of our local representatives, at all levels of government and can happily report all were receptive and supportive of our efforts, with both the Mayor, Mike O’Brien & F’ton South MLA, David Coon along with their wives serving at our Christmas Kindness event!
  • Our board secretary, Robyn Witherell organized, acquired sponsorship for, and participated in, our first 5K Fundraising Run. We hope this will become an annual event. Phillip Witherell negotiated sponsorship with Peterbilt Atlantic for the race & had Linking Lives hats designed for the participants.
  • Tyler Witherell, our treasurer, hosted a golf tournament with funds raised being matched by Peterbilt Atlantic as well.
  • Our volunteers have provided many hours of labor assisting those struggling with health issues to maintain their yards, and homes, mowing lawns, making freezer meals for our friend, Mr. Anonymous, holding hands, transporting people to medical appointments, the food bank, Social Development and Post-Secondary Training & Development; to name a few.
  • Posts for funds to keep families power on or to purchase wood for others to stay warm are responded to almost immediately and in virtually every case we were able to secure the funds needed within 24-36 hours!
  • Our back to school campaign was a huge success with many of you participating resulting in several children starting off in September properly equipped to meet the challenge of a new school year!
  • Linking Lives volunteer teams assisted with two craft shows in the fall hosted by Sandra Deveau/Lemon Balm Lane; one that raised $8000.00 for Women in Transition with the 2nd raising $11,000.00 for Wounded Warriors!
  • We also had two teams participate in the Harvest Jazz Festival garnering almost $700 in honorariums.
  • There have been dances, poker tournaments, contests, giveaways, raffles, wrapping parties, donation drives, oodles of pick-ups & deliveries and endless posts requesting help all in order to raise both funds & awareness. All successful!
  • We’ve helped enhance the quality of life for others through simple acts of kindness like decorating their home for Halloween & Christmas and baking cookies with them; things they can no longer do without assistance!
  • We have linked many families to services, & support networks; after meeting with each and every one of them personally! For example there have been “links” to: respite care, chiropractic services, transportation, material resources, emotional support, counselling & legal advice!
  • You even managed to house a family of cats in response to a post we put out thinking no one was going to take that on!
  • In November we began working on our two Christmas campaigns; the Community Kindness Dinner at Porters & the Community Hero sponsorship program!
  • Our Christmas kindness dinner provided 130 people with a delicious dinner, gifts and a reason to believe their community supports them too! You gave them one of the greatest gifts of all; HOPE!
  • Through our Community Heroes Christmas sponsorship program over 55 families & individuals woke up December 25 with joy in their hearts!
  • Both of these campaigns were nothing short of amazing and the feedback we got from those we work on behalf of was heartwarming!

“Our sponsor just left & I am so overwhelmed. They just made my girls Christmas. I cannot thank you enough. I’ve been crying since they left, Thank you for blessing me and my family.”

“It truly was a night full of the Christmas spirit. I feel honored to have been a part of such a magical evening. Mom, my sister and I felt the abundance of true joy.”

“Giving is love in motion. Thank you once again Linking Lives Inc. & Porters Diner for such an amazing event. It was so nice meeting everyone. The world needs more love, so let’s spread that on everything that we do!”

Let me remind you all, once again that, that was all accomplished in six short months so just imagine what we will be able to report at the end of 2017 with YOUR continued support!

Happy 150th Birthday Canada!

Now on to the next great campaign which will tie into Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations. We have applied for, and received permission to, host a Canada 150 event and can now utilize the government graphics/materials associated with this national milestone. In the next week or so we will launch our 150 Acts of Community Kindness campaign, in honor of Canada’s birthday, where we will be asking you all to pledge to perform 150 different kindnesses during 2017. On our blog home page you will soon be able to find a link to a registration page, Facebook group, and printable forms for participation in the event. We will also be posting a list of 150 different ways to be kind, when completed; currently at 122 so keep posting your suggestions to our Facebook! Once you have registered you will be added to the Facebook group (150 Acts of Community Kindness) where you can connect with others participating, and share your stories, pictures and videos with us throughout the year. At year end we will host a reception where we can share these and celebrate having created a kinder community together. The online materials are ready to launch and we are just discussing perhaps building in some prizes or awards for categories such as; most unique act, youngest person to complete 150 acts, largest group to work together, or first to complete 150 acts for example. What do YOU think? Would this make YOU more likely to get involved? Let us know please! This is a campaign EVERYONE can be a part of and success depends directly on YOUR involvement, so we hope everyone will join in! Challenge your family, friends, co-workers, and classmates to get involved; make it into a friendly competition. We would love to see our Mayor and other local representatives get involved by challenging their counterparts in other areas of NB to see which community can inspire the highest level of participation! Although I would bet the farm it would be Fredericton; given my experience in community service here. 🙂

-Maria

“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness”

– Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Make sure to keep checking our Facebook page for the launch of this campaign in the next week or so and please continue to share our posts! THANK YOU

If you would like more information on how to donate to Linking Lives or about how YOU can get involved please contact us at: linkinglives1by1@gmail.com or via our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/linkinglives1by1/

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