Throughout the year, the Upper Canada/Sierra Forest Products team prides itself on the importance of our role within our communities and giving back to those in need, as part of our culture. We understand that the needs are wide ranging and ever changing, and that especially during this time of year, the needs of our communities are more pronounced.
True to our culture of commitment to our communities, each employee at Upper Canada/Sierra is given one full paid day off to contribute as a volunteer to the Charity of their choice. These important days range from summer camps supporting youth to flipping pancakes for Seniors, organizing donations at local Salvation Armies and playing desk chair volleyball. It is no surprise that over the years, these volunteer days have combined to create incredible and lasting impact in the communities in which we live and work.
Financial donations are also important to the lifeblood of charitable work. We proudly support numerous charities locally, nationally and internationally, who do work that we believe in. As an organization, we have supported PLAN International for 3 decades, aiding children from Indonesia, Senegal, Vietnam, Thailand and India. Within Canada, our assistance to MusiCounts saw our donation target Fort McPherson in the Northwest Territories, a remote community a 47-hour drive from Yellowknife. The school is introducing a music program to encourage students to engage with community musicians and elders, and learn about local traditions. Within our own local communities, our donations include food drives like the IEOA Truck Convoy in Victoria, BC where festively decorated commercial trucks cruised through the streets raising awareness and gathering food donations in support of the Mustard Seed Food Bank. We are always proud to participate. Food drives will continue to happen across all our locations, as will clothing and other donation drives throughout the holiday season.
Not only do our employees partake in giving back to the community, but this civic involvement runs deep for our UCS Forest Group Advisory Board, and Chairman Jim Estill leads the way. A Guelph Executive, Jim recently received the Everyday Hero Award at The Global Hope Coalition Leadership Summit in New York City for his work with Syrian refugees. Back in 2015, he used his own money to sponsor immigration of 58 Syrian families to Guelph, ON and arranged apartments, clothing, English language instruction, as well as employment and career counselling. Jim’s contributions have changed the lives of many families that have had to deal with the struggles and distress of coming to a new country, where the future is unknown.
Volunteerism and charitable work is the essence of who we are as a company. Whether it be dedicating a full day to supporting our communities or providing charitable donations and raising awareness for a good cause, sharing our time and energy with those around us creates a strong team spirit and fosters relationships that last for years to come.