Generosity of Winnipeg crew helps many

Members of HMCS Winnipeg present clothing donations collected by the ship during its Holiday Clothing Drive to the Joe Nafuma Refugee Centre in Rome, Italy.

Members of HMCS Winnipeg present clothing donations collected by the ship during its Holiday Clothing Drive to the Joe Nafuma Refugee Centre in Rome, Italy.

SLt Jamie Tobin, HMCS Winnipeg –

Despite being deployed over the holiday season, the more than 250 sailors, soldiers and air force personnel on board HMCS Winnipeg spread holiday cheer to those less fortunate with some very successful community outreach endeavours.

The most successful of the campaigns was the ship’s holiday toy drive where members of the crew purchased toys that were donated to a worthy cause in the ship’s holiday port of call of Rome.
“It is incredibly overwhelming to see the ship’s company collaborate together and purchase a variety of children’s toys and donate clothing for those in need,” said Master Seaman Joan Emode, a reserve force Resource Management Support Clerk serving in Winnipeg. “I am also proud to be a member of the Master Seaman and Below mess that contributed so much of their time and effort to support this important cause.”

Two days before Christmas representatives from the ship visited the Joe Nafuma Refugee Centre in Rome to drop off clothing and hygiene products donations that had been collected by the crew. The facility provides meals and daytime services to refugees living in the vicinity of Rome, and the team from the ship had a brief opportunity to meet with some of the centre’s staff and clientele to learn about the support programs and employment opportunities they provide.

On Christmas Eve, a large group from the ship’s company visited the Community of Sant’Egidio School of Peace in Rome with toy donations that had been collected during the campaign. The donations consisted of store bought toys and games, as well as handcrafted wooden boats that were constructed by the ship’s hull technician section.

The Community of Sant’Egidio is an international volunteer-run organization that provides under privileged citizens with food, shelter, every day necessities and education. The toy donations were given to the youth on Christmas Day during their annual holiday feast.

These acts of kindness and generosity followed a donation that was made from the ship on behalf of Boomer’s Legacy to a refugee centre in Kiel, Germany, during an operational port of call in September. Boomer’s Legacy is a British Columbia based not-for-profit organization that knits toques for children affected by conflict; the organization carries on the legacy of Corporal Andrew “Boomer” Eyklenboom, a Canadian soldier that made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan in 2006.

The charitable efforts and support to community relations initiatives that have been made by the crew of Winnipeg have been implemented under the leadership of the ship’s Chaplain, Lieutenant (Navy) Matthew Squires, with help from the ship’s Forward Logistics Support section. These initiatives help to serve the communities that the ship visits while enhancing the morale of the crew by providing added purpose to their important mission.    

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