Myrna Driedger
Broadway Journal

Manitoba is the most charitable province in Canada. Year after year we have topped the Generosity Index which is a publication put together by the Fraser Institute. It’s difficult to say why this is exactly. It could have to do with our pioneer roots, or maybe it’s simply our friendly nature. Whatever the cause, this is something that all Manitobans should be proud of. 

There are many organizations in this province that make it the vibrant, close knit community that it is. Although many charitable organizations exist as a chapter of a larger national organization, I’d like to highlight some amazing made-in-Manitoba organizations that have done and continue to do great work. 

Winnipeg Harvest is one of many charitable organizations that are helping the community.

Winnipeg Harvest

This Manitoba-grown organization that gives food to roughly 64,000 Manitobans monthly. This is an enormous task that takes a very dedicated group to accomplish. Winnipeg Harvest has been in operation in our great province since 1984. Many Manitobans have benefitted from Winnipeg Harvest, either by being on the receiving end of this group’s generosity or by giving to the group. Winnipeg Harvest was founded by a Winnipegger, Lee Newton who had the dream of creating a distribution centre for food banks. And what a distribution centre it is! Winnipeg Harvest is located off of Notre Dame Avenue, perfectly located to distribute food all over the city. 

The Dream Factory of Manitoba

The Dream Factory of Manitoba is a charitable organization that does just what its name implies, makes dreams come true! The work that the Dream Factory does makes all the difference to children undergoing difficult circumstances and also to their families. This is a group that is dedicated to ensuring that children experiencing an illness are able to have their dream come true and enjoy being a kid. We are so fortunate to have a Manitoba-grown organization like this. 

Nellie McClung Foundation

The Nellie McClung Foundation is a group that is close to my heart. This foundation has grown and evolved so much over the years. I am incredibly proud to have been part of its beginning. This small and mighty group began with a Private Members Bill that I put forward while in opposition.

The Nellie McClung Foundation Act passed with support from all members of the house. It was a great show of partnership among the different parties in the house. The purpose of this act was to create a foundation that worked with the goal of installing a bronze sculpture of the Famous Five on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature. The sculpture that stands on the west lawn is a stunning example of what can be done with a collaborative partnership, and a lot of determination. Today, the Nellie McClung Foundation works to celebrate the legacy of Nellie McClung and her trailblazing friends while looking to the next generation of trailblazing Manitobans to inspire and educate. 

Agape Table

Here is another amazing Manitoba organization that does great things for Manitoba. Agape Table ensures there is emergency food for those in need. Last year this great organization provided over 130,000 bowls of soup. What an accomplishment! People can volunteer at Agape Table and donate supplies to this organization located in Winnipeg’s West End area. 

Villa Rosa

Villa Rosa has been in existence for over 100 years. This group began in 1898 as a home for expectant mothers in need of a safe place to stay. The amount of great work that this group does for people in need is inspiring. This organization works to help expectant mothers and new mothers get back on their feet. Villa Rosa has evolved over the century from an organization run by the Misericordia Sisters to a community-run organization that welcomes all faiths. For those looking to help, Villa Rosa accepts monetary donations and volunteers who are able to spare some of their time. 

Siloam Mission

This shelter for those in need here in Winnipeg was started in 1987 by a former penitentiary inmate who wanted to help others. The Siloam Mission that we know today is the product of many changes over the years and this evolution has been impressive to watch. There are beds for those who need it, drop-in food and meals, clothing, health services, an employment program, a mental health program, and transition services which are dedicated to helping those in need navigate the social services system. This organization is looking to help those in need and get them back on their feet. There are many people behind this organization and volunteers are essential in its day to day running.

I am proud to live in a province with so many inspiring home-grown charitable organizations. The volunteerism and the giving mentality of our neighbours and friends is unparalleled across Canada.

Hon. Myrna Driedger is MLA for Charleswood and Speaker of the legislative assembly.