The pandemic reshaped our lives, but the impact has been felt the most by those who were already struggling.
Issues like homelessness, hunger and inequality were already hurting communities across Canada, and the economic fallout has only amplified these issues, leaving many more Canadians vulnerable.
3.3 million Canadians live in poverty every day and struggle to pay rent, find work, and feed their children.1
With so many people struggling to meet basics needs and access supports to find their footing, we must act, lift each other up, and help our neighbours in need.
3M Harvest Lunch: Bringing everyone to the table
Volunteerism runs incredibly deep at 3M. Working to make a difference is part of our culture and key to who we are. With a focus on involving our employees, we invest in partnerships that support the environment, greater equity in STEM education and underserved families.
The United Way is one of those key partnerships.
3M employees are particularly proud to be involved in the annual 3M Harvest Lunch, in our home communities served by the United Way of Elgin-Middlesex, Leeds and Grenville, and launching this year in East Ontario.
The 3M Harvest Lunch really captures the spirit of community. People are asked to purchase a meal ticket to help feed someone in need. Through United Way partnerships with local agencies, and the help of 3Mgives volunteers, hot and fresh meals are prepared, served and in some cases delivered right to the homes of those in need.
For someone receiving one of the lunches, it may be the only meal they have that day.
In 2021, the 3M Harvest Lunch was a huge success, serving 5,406 meals to those in need, surpassing goals of 2,000 meals in Elgin-Middlesex and 1,000 meals in Leeds and Grenville. This year, we’ve set our sights even higher to help eliminate hunger in our communities:
- United Way Elgin-Middlesex goal: 4,000 meals
- United Way Leeds & Grenville goal: 1,500 meals
- United Way East Ontario: 500 meals
This program also helps local restaurants, who are also facing their own journey of recovery from the pandemic. For every Harvest Lunch ticket that is purchased, a locally owned restaurant receives that business and fills the orders.
Each year, our 3M employees step up to volunteer helping to distribute the freshly made, nutritious meals to those in need. Last year, so many 3M employees raised their hands to help, we had to start a waiting list.
“3Mers take such pride in giving back to the community because it’s a part of who we are and what we do. It’s encouraged, it’s one of our values and we’re really a community-focused organization.”
-Hamid Dean, 3M Facilities Leader and Fleet Manager
Together, we can create stronger, more resilient communities.
I’m inspired by the way the community came together around the 3M Harvest Lunch (and other United Way campaign events) to create a new way to give back. When we work with each other, for each other, we create better outcomes for everyone.
As we begin the 2022 United Way campaign in our communities, this is our chance to show our local love. Every donation, each hour of volunteering, and every act of kindness makes a difference in the communities where we work and play. The United Way supports essential local programs and services in our communities that provide the essentials to help end the cycle of poverty: stable housing, education, employment, health and family services.
A fair and equitable recovery is within reach, but only if we reach out to lend a helping hand. COVID-19 has forced many of us to turn inwards and isolate to protect ourselves, our families and our community members. Now, as we see a shift in the pandemic and the opportunity to look outward again, it’s my hope that as we reconnect in our communities, selflessness will emerge as the greatest agent of change.
Buy a ticket for the 3M Harvest Lunch to provide a nutritious meal to a person in need in: London-Elgin-Middlesex, Leeds and Grenville, or East Ontario.
1. Statistics Canada. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/en/catalogue/11-627-M2020018