Tag Archives: The United Way

Coldest Night of the Year walk raises money for city’s homeless

Reported by Lasia Kretzel
First Posted: Feb 22, 2014 9:41am | Last Updated: Feb 22, 2014 9:42am

As old man winter continues to pummel the prairies, hundreds of Saskatoon residents will take to the streets tonight to help the city’s most vulnerable.

Hosted by The Lighthouse, the first Saskatoon Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser walk offers walkers a hint of what the city’s homeless may experience on a daily basis.

“This walk is just a tiny little taste for a lot of people in Saskatoon that they don’t get to see,” Lighthouse spokeswoman DeeAnn Mercier said, adding the city’s homeless often don’t even have the luxury of riding the bus.

“There are those appointments that they have to make whether it’s minus 30 or not and that often may mean walking.”

The two, five or 10 kilometer walk raises money for the city’s homeless services. Since 2011, more than 60 Canadian communities have raised $2.4 million for the cause.

With howling wind chills reaching -45 C, this winter has been a challenge for the city’s homeless.

“I saw a gentleman who came in with some of the worst frostbite I’ve ever seen in my entire life, just absolutely black stubs of fingers and needed help changing his bandages. It’s just completely disturbing that people are having some of those challenges in Saskatoon,” she said.

The Lighthouse has 25 beds for women and upwards of 30 men who stay at the shelter each night but Mercier said if it came down to it, they would put mattresses in the hallways to make sure everyone had a warm place to sleep.

Mercier said just over 200 people have registered for Saturday night’s walk and they’ve surpassed their $25,000 goal by a landslide.

“We’ve broken $33,000 but I think we’ll break $35,000,” she said.

Registration for the walk gets underway at the Lighthouse at 4 p.m. and the walk begins at 5:15 p.m. Everything will wrap up back at the Lighthouse with hot drinks and chilly.


Thanks to CKOM for this article raising awareness for the Coldest Night of the Year walk and our wonderful sponsors, especially KPMG and the United Way. By the time this hit the airways we had already hit $35,000!!

Mosaic gives a makeover to the Men’s Emergency Shelter on the United Way’s Day of Caring

On June 19th, United Way held their annual Day of Caring in which volunteer groups from local businesses join together with non-profit organizations to have a work be on a specific project. 

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The Lighthouse was paired with an energetic and hard-working team from Mosaic, who decided to give our men’s emergency shelter a makeover. They gave the dorm a thorough cleaning, painted the wall, the bases of the beds, bought fresh bedding and pillows, and hung sports Jerseys on the wall. It was great to make our men’s shelter into a more masculine, relaxing, home-y space.

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For many of the gentlemen who stay in our emergency shelter they have exhausted all other options of places to stay. They may arrive traumatized or severely broken. Circumstances in their life may have suddenly changed due to mental or physical health challenges, lost of a job, or changes stemming from their current place of residence.

The Lighthouse works to build them back up again by starting with a good night’s sleep in a safe place, a hot meal, and a warm bed. From there we work to access next steps so they can have a place to call home again. Some of the people who stay in our shelter may need help to live independently and for them we offer our supported living suites. Other may need a landlord to take a chance on them and qualify for our affordable housing suites. Still other men may just need a brief place to stay before the find appropriate housing in the wider community. 

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Thank you so much to the Mosaic crew for all their hard work. Their spirit of generosity and willingness to give back to those less fortunate in our community really humbled the Lighthouse staff and clients.

Thanks also to the United Way for coordinating the Day of Caring. Last year our women’s shelter received a makeover during the Day of Caring, and we are already looking forward to next year! To learn more about United Way’s Day of Caring visit: http://www.unitedwaysaskatoon.ca/news.php.

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Corporate staff roll up sleeves to help agencies

From The StarPhoenix

Woman of the Lighthouse Supported Living women’s shelter will now have a brighter place of refuge.

On Wednesday, eight corporate staff from Potash Corporation rolled up their sleeves and pitched to turn the unfinished shelter into a place that looks more like home.

DeeAnn Mercier, director of communications with Lighthouse Supported Living said the extra help could not come soon any sooner.

“We needed to use the building as soon as the space was available but we didn’t get to put those finishing touches towards it,” said Mercier.

“We’re so thankful for United Way and Potash Corp. for coming to give our woman’s shelter a little bit of a facelift, It’s through organizations like this that we’re able to go above and beyond and do better for our clients and they deserve better.”

The needed help is all part of United Way’s 13th annual Day of Care where local corporations and businesses spend a day to help community agencies and programs that receive assistance through United Way.

“We make the match between the agencies that need the assistance and the corporations that are willing to give a number of employees or if there is a financial (need) they are can sponsor as well,” said Myra Potter, director of resource development with the United Way.

More than 150 volunteers left the United Way’s pancake breakfast kick off, ready to help local organizations with building renovations, gardening and community events across the city.

Affinity Credit Union, SaskEnergy and the Canadian Blue Cross were just some of the major contributors.

Mosaic also donated their staff in helping Big Brothers Big Sisters of Saskatoon and Area with an indoor barbecue for children.

Last year, Potash Corp. donated $737,000 to the local United Way program and while with United Way said that cash donations are greatly appreciated, sometimes an organization just needs an extra hand around the house.

“Sometimes we have projects where we just need people with enthusiasm and commitment to get the job done. It’s really an example of United Way stepping out of the traditional fundraising model,” said Potter.

Potter believes the day not only benefits the organizations but also the volunteers themselves, prompting them continue to help their community in the future.

“(We are) reaching out to the community in different way and fulfilling our mission to be a volunteer and act. This is really connecting the donors to the community,” said Potter.

Built more than a century ago, the Lighthouse Supported Living shelter was originally a hotel, with numerous hotel chains owning the builder over the years.

The building was later donated to Lighthouse in 1997 to help women and men who experience poverty, homelessness and disabilities, housing 64 shelter rooms with a maximum occupancy of 68 people.

Three meals are given a day and are able to take various support programs.

A bingo hall once stood where the newly renovated, 21 bed woman’s shelter is now, which opened in January.

The shelter is part of new renovations at Lighthouse which will include a future nursing centre and employment centre.

A new building tower that will house 58 affordable living units will is also be added on.

A mural along with night tables, new bedding and care packages were some of the final touches Potash Corporation added to the women’s shelter.

“Women want to stay some place nice, some place that feels like home, where they feel secure. They are going through a very stressful and probably traumatic period in their life and we want to offer them a refuge and a safe place,” said Mercier.

“It’s transformational when you can take a day of your life and know that you’re really having an impact on somebody else’s life and that’s what its all about. I think the volunteers are transformed because they get step out of their typical day in the office and do something magical,” said Potter.

For information on how to volunteer in the community, call the United Way at 975-3477 or visit www.unitedwaysaskatoon.ca

© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix

PotashCorp and the United Way Day of Caring

United Way of Caring with the PotashCorp

The 13th Annual United Way Day of Caring was today and The Lighthouse was joined by a team of passionate PotashCorp employees who painted and decorated our Women’s Emergency Shelter.  Here they are at work.

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These photos are the finished product.

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A special thanks to The United Way and to PotashCorp, you have no idea how much you have improved the lives of homeless women in Saskatoon!  It was was an extreme makeover.

United Way of Saskatoon and AreaPotashCorp