The United Way Pembina Valley wrapped up its 2023-24 campaign this week with the distribution of over $142,000 to 31 local non-profits.

A grant of $1,250 went to support the local sledge hockey program organized by the Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba (CPAM).

"We want to get them out, get them active and get them in the community," said David Kron, executive director for CPAM. "It happens once a month from October to the end of June, maybe May, depending on the ice time. We have a real dedicated group of sledge hockey players that play three-on-three against each other." 

PV Sledge hockey line up of participants.(Submitted photo) PV Sledge Hockey

The program is a partnership with Manitoba Possible, the non-profit formerly known as Society for Manitobans with Disabilities. 

"They supply the coaches and the sledges themselves. We help pay for the ice time and support it in the Pembina Valley. It's great to support those grassroots things. If we didn't do that then kids would be sitting at home by themselves watching TV."

Kron says every Canadian kid wants to play hockey whether it's competitive, recreational or just hanging out on the ice. These kids just play it in a slightly different way.

Another benefactor of United Way Pembina Valley's 2023-24 campaign was the Morden-based Many Hands Resource Centre, which received $8,100 towards the purchase of a delivery vehicle. 

"We are very, very appreciative and we want to extend our heartfelt gratitude for this generous support," said Mariyam Tsygankova, executive director for the Centre.

"This support will make it possible to cover the expense of purchasing a new vehicle because our previous old vehicle, which was donated, was very unreliable. It just didn't work. But we have to pick up stuff for our food bank each Monday from the local store because we are participating in the shrink program. If we don't have a vehicle, we don't have food in our hampers. So that was very important for us."

With their current high numbers, Tsygankova said the grant was very important.

"Before January, we used to have 1900 people coming for the food bank, families actually. Now we have 107 to 110 people coming each week. That's much more than we expected."

Tsygankova pointed that most people come to the food bank because they can't afford groceries.

"They are thinking, do I pay for hydro, or do I buy some milk for my kids? Most of the people coming for the food bank are under social assistance, they are low-income families. Some of them lost their jobs. People are very struggling right now and we are more than happy to help. Any support, any help is important."

Even the smallest donation makes an impact. 

"The only reason why Many Hands exists is the community. We don't have big donors; we are not a government-funded organization. We exist only because the community thinks about us. And we really appreciate that. Thank you so much."

First-time clients of the food bank are often embarrassed, awkward and uncomfortable noted Tsygankova.

"But after a conversation, we explain, hey, life happens. You will be fine soon. We are here to help you. We have so many stories of people who come back and say, hey I remember you helped us. How can I give back? What can I do for you? We tell these stories to people to encourage them.  People are happier when they get the food they need. They are very thankful. This is very heart-warming."

United Way Pembina Valley Group photo of grant recipientsUnited Way Pembina Valley Group photo of grant recipients


2023-2024 Recipients and projects:

500 Stephen Street Community Centre - $7,900 for ongoing programming 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Pembina Valley - $10,500 for mentoring programs. 

Boundary Trails Health Centre Foundation - $6,600 for specialized pediatrics equipment. 

Central Station Community Centre - $8,150 for the Café 545 community meal program. 

Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba - $1,250 in support of the local sledge hockey program. 

Eden Health Care Services - $6,250 in support of the volunteer program. 

Gateway Resources - $5,600 towards the purchase of a wheelchair accessible swing for day program participants. 

Genesis House - $6,150 ongoing programming for the victims of domestic violence. 

Katie Cares - $3,100 to change existing space at the respite home into a work/storage area.
Many Hands Resource Centre - $8,100 towards the purchase of a vehicle for food bank deliveries. 

Manitoba Choral Association - $900 in support of the Central Manitoba Youth Choir program. 

Miami Recreation & Play Spaces - $1,000 in support of free community paint nights. 

Morden Activity Centre - $3,650 towards a marketing campaign to raise awareness about the centre’s programming for seniors.  

Morden Cheer Board - $6,150 towards the Christmas hamper program. 

Morden Community Handi-van - $4,100 towards a new vehicle. 

Morden Parent & Child Resource Centre - $2,750 towards operational costs. 

Morden School Aged Programming Committee - $6,650 for after-school programming. 

Pembina Counselling Centre - $4,000 in support of the sliding fee scale to make counselling accessible to all. 

Pembina Hills Arts Council - $850 for art materials. 

Pembina Valley Humane Society - $550 in support of the low cost spay/neuter program. 

Pembina Valley Pregnancy Care Centre - $4,800 for pregnancy support services. 

Regional Connections - $3,000 in support of Winterfest programming. 

Salem Home - $6,850 to support the director of community engagement position. 

Scholarships and bursaries - $7,500 to graduating students of GVC, NPC, and Morden Collegiate 

South Central Cancer Resource - $6,150 towards the transportation program. 

The Bunker - $6,400 for the Industrial Eats restaurant project. 

The Gardens on Tenth - $1,900 towards facility renovations. 

Winkler Arts and Culture - $1,150 for the after-school art program. 

Winkler Day Care Centre - $2,500 to purchase outdoor musical playground instruments. 

Winkler Family Resource Centre - $3,100 toward the lending library and the Stay & Play program. 

Winkler Senior Centre - $5,350 for the volunteer coordinator position. 

Youth for Christ Morden - $7,100 toward backyard improvements. 

~With files from Robyn Wiebe~