Irving Shipbuilding: Giving Local

While the holiday season may look different this year, Irving Shipbuilding employees found creative ways to continue traditions of giving and service across local communities.

Staff at Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Centre accept gifts for children in the community.

Irving Shipbuilding and Unifor Local 1 Second Annual Toy Drive: building ties in the local community.

Irving Shipbuilding and Unifor Local 1 held their Second Annual Toy Drive for local communities in Halifax and Dartmouth.

When new restrictions on outings to stores and malls were brought on due to COVID-19, the partners worked to find a solution that would keep donors and recipients safe. The toy drive went on to be a success, with employees shopping locally, online and making e-donations. Gift cards to grocery stores and department stores, as well as a holiday turkey donation from Irving Shipbuilding were all welcome additions to the traditional toy drive.

Local community organizations made it all possible by helping to facilitate donations and identifying children and families in need:

North End Parent Resource Centre and Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Centre

The North End Parent Resource Centre and Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Centre are located in the longstanding, multicultural district of North End Halifax. While many residents have historic ties to communities such as Africville and the Preston Township, the neighbourhood has recently welcomed many newcomers to Canada.

"Our goal is to reduce barriers and provide supports and resources to help families be healthy and successful," explains Charlane Watts, who is Executive Director of both the Parent Resource Centre and Caring and Learning Centre.

The centres are safe places for families and children to participate in activities together. The assistance they provide helps parents who are living on a fixed or limited income ease the everyday stresses of life.

Staff at both centres work around the clock to provide support and a welcoming environment. Whether through packing holiday gift baskets for parents, or providing a nutrition program for children in the community, they are truly holiday heroes.

LaMeia Reddick at Blxck House Life Studio in North Preston.

Blxck House Life Studio

Blxck House is an urban community space dedicated to holistic health and healing for North Preston children, youth and their families. Founded by LaMeia Reddick, Blxck House provides a safe and supportive space for community members to enjoy experiential learning opportunities.

"The programming is designed to help children and youth create positive memories, develop new skills and nurture community pride," explains LaMeia.

Through their donation, Irving Shipbuilding and Unifor Local 1 were able to support up to 30 children who participate in activities such as surfing, gardening and an art program operated in collaboration with Wonder'neath Art Centre.

Annual Employee Turkey Give-out at Halifax Shipyard.
Irving Shipbuilding and Unifor Local1 Make a turkey donation to Feed Nova Scotia.

ISI Annual Turkey Donation

In addition to the Toy Drive, Irving Shipbuilding employees donated 200 turkeys to a number of food banks and community organizations serving those in need, including Feed Nova Scotia, Hope Cottage, the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, Barry House, Nehiley House, Sir Sandford Fleming House and Metro Turning Point.

CSC employees present a cheque to Karen Theriault of Feed Nova Scotia.

‘Fun’draising Fridays for Feed Nova Scotia

The team working on the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) Project at Irving Shipbuilding raised a grand total of $2,362.40 this year in support of Feed Nova Scotia. Since April 2020, they have held ‘Fun’draising Fridays, encouraging employees to wear a fun shirt on Friday matching a theme in exchange for a two-dollar donation.

The weekly themes have ranged from ‘Hawaiian Shirt Friday’ and ‘Around the World’; sports and band t-shirts and team members wearing their favourite superhero shirts at the office.

“We usually get anywhere from $30, to our highest take-home at $128 in one day, with all funds going to Feed Nova Scotia," recalls Dana Dauphinee, who has helped organize the weekly event.

‘Fun’draising Friday is a new addition to the CSC team’s annual food drive, a tradition they have kept since their team was housed in Bayer’s Lake, NS. This year, they packed 20 boxes of non-perishable food items, complete with a cash donation of $102.

According to Karen Theriault, Director of Development and Communications at Feed Nova Scotia, every two dollars donated provides support for three meals. She mentions that while the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t create the issue of food insecurity in the province, it has shone a light on the need some households are facing, with one in six households in need of food support.

The donation from the CSC team will support over 3,000 much needed meals for those in need.

For more info:

The team at Woodside Industries made a donation of $1,044 to the IWK.

IWK Donation

It was nine years ago in October, that Mark Higgins and his wife spent five anxiety-ridden days at the IWK Hospital in Halifax. They had been waiting to hear news from a specialist on their son’s undiagnosed condition. The nurses, doctors, volunteers and staff at the hospital went the extra mile to make their son’s Halloween special.

Later, they recalled how difficult it had been to stay positive and remarked on the amazing strength of frontline healthcare workers. Mark, a Steel Production Supervisor at Woodside Industries, a Dartmouth-based production facility of Irving Shipbuilding, shared this story with his coworkers, he said it was an easy decision for the team to pitch in to make IWK. They raised over $100 from recycling refundables and another $422 in fundraising activities. Irving Shipbuilding matched the $522 effort.

“This will be their “thing” to focus on what they can do for the community," explained Mark, who has seen his coworkers take on the fundraising for themselves. He says the goal is to make the fundraiser bigger and better each year.

Fleetway and CSC teams teamed up to support the Salvation Army 'Angel Tree' Program.

Bluenose Building Toy Drive – Fleetway and CSC

The Fleetway and CSC teams partnered this year to support the Salvation Army ‘Angel Tree’ program. A part of a nation-wide initiative, donors are matched with children from local communities and provided with a request for an item on their personal wish list. The joint effort of both teams resulted in over 250 gifts donated!

The AOPS Engineering Team Themed Friday

The Engineering Team working on the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship program shared that ‘Friday feeling’ by organizing their own weekly themed Friday events in support of Adsum House for Women and Children – raising over $500.

The Northwood Giving Tree was organized by Irving Shipbuilding's IT Department.

Northwood Giving Tree

This holiday, many residents at Northwood facilities will be missing gatherings with family and friends. The JD Irving IT department at Halifax Shipyard sprang into action, organizing the ‘Northwood Giving Tree’. Together they collected specialized gifts for seniors and adults in care, including sensory toys and candy – making their season just a little brighter.

Unifor Local1 makes a cheque presentation to Christmas Daddies in honor of Billy Murphy.

Christmas Daddies Donation from Unifor Marine Workers Local1

The Annual Christmas Daddies Fundraiser is led each year by Unifor Marine Workers from the Local1 Union at Halifax Shipyard. The tradition was established in honour of Billy Murphy, a colleague who lost his battle with cancer. Billy is remembered fondly by friends at Halifax Shipyard, especially for his habit of collecting recyclables around the yard, often putting the refunded cash toward charitable donations.

This year, Unifor members raised over $12,000 in support of the Christmas Daddies Telethon, which provides gifts and relief for children experiencing poverty across the Maritimes. When the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to their usual fundraising activities – including an anticipated annual bowling tournament, their success was made possible through donations from local businesses, company contributions, cash from refunded recyclables and individual donations from Unifor members.


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