Region volunteers dish up 200 dinners

Annual Freight House event builds on community partnerships

Emma (left) and Nimo having fun setting up the craft area at the Freight House Family Holiday Dinner on Dec. 7.
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United Way Day of Caring

Freight House Boys & Girls Club

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Thursday, December 8, 2011

As they unpacked boxes of tiny photo frames, friends Emma and Nimo were chatting about hair, clothing and teasing the boys working nearby.

The two girls were setting up a craft activity for the Freight House Boys and Girls Club's Family Holiday Dinner last night, under the watchful eye of Winnipeg Health Region volunteer Jan Murowski.

“I’ve been very, very, very good this year,” said Emma, pointing to a decorative stocking hung on the wall where family portrait photos were being taken. “That’s me. Very, very, very good.”

The two girls unpacked photo frames, while fellow Boys and Girls Club members Chris, Jack and Gobal set out crayons and toffees on the tables where over 200 people would eat dinner that night. The kids then plugged in glue guns and made a sample photo frame decorated with red and green leaves.

“We had a person shooting family portraits and printing them out. The kids at the dinner then made a decorated frame,” said Murowski. “At the end of the evening, 90 families took home a nice photo in their frame.”

Boys & Girls Club members Gobal (from left), Chris, Jack, Emma and Nimo unpacking items for the craft table at the Freight House Family Holiday Dinner.

The Freight House dinner attracted the families of the 596 kids who come to the Boys and Girls Club activities every day after school, along with other families in the neighbourhood around the Freight House, which is located at 200 Isabel St.

Over 200 people ate a turkey and ham dinner with trimmings, and took part in a draw for 42 shoebox hampers donated by Winnipeg Health Region staff and were given food hampers at the end of the evening.

Forty Winnipeg Health Region staff and family members volunteered at the dinner, doing everything from set-up to cooking and serving the food, said Murowski, who organized the health region’s part in the program. Region staff also donated money for the meals served at the dinner. The effort was a Day of Caring for the health region staff.

The Freight House dinner was a collaborative effort between the United Way of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Health Region and the Winnipeg Boys and Girls Club, which runs programming at the Freight House.

The United Way sponsors Day of Caring events in which companies and organizations work with a United Way of Winnipeg non-profit agency partner to complete a much-needed project or hold a special event.

“The families were very appreciative of our involvement and our volunteers truly enjoyed the evening,” said Murowski.

Some of the 40 Winnipeg Health Region staff and family members who volunteered at the Freight House Family Holiday Dinner.

Some of the 40 Winnipeg Health Region staff and family members who volunteered at the Freight House Family Holiday Dinner.

The Freight House Boys and Girls Club offer after-school programs to children between the ages of 6 and 18. The club uses the multipurpose rooms, computer centre, weight room, kitchen, gymnasium, athletics field and outdoor swimming pool at the Freight House. Monthly activities include sports, games, computers, pool tournaments, arts and crafts, field trips, cooking, cultural activities, homework help, social outings, movies and more. After-school snacks are served to the children, to boost their nutrition.

In February, the Winnipeg Health Region will sponsor another Day of Caring. The Day of Pampering takes place at the Nor’West Co-op Community Health Centre on Tyndall Ave. The event allows mothers to come for a make-over day, while their children attend a daycare.

“Women come and get their hair cut, have a massage and get their nails done. The WRHA volunteers help them pick out clothing and serve food,” said Murowski, adding this event goes back to 2006, and that this is the fifth year the health region has sponsored the event.

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