Helping community members sleep better at night has been an eye-opening experience for McKenna Bateman.
That’s because the nine-year-old St. Boniface resident has been busy going door-to-door in the community with her fundraising campaign called A Good Night Sleep.
Assisted by her mom, Linda Bateman, McKenna has been asking people for a minimum donation of $1.50 to help with the purchase of a night mask which will be included in the linen package given out to individuals spending the night at Siloam Mission. There is also a PayPal account for donations.
And the results have been impressive. In just one week, McKenna raised $516. At press time, she had bought 345 night masks. Ultimately, the sky’s the limit if donations keep coming in. Linda praised the generosity of not only the family’s friends and neighbours to the cause, but also local businesses. Walmart in St. Vital donated a large container to store the masks and four out of five Dollarama stores in the city they approached gave McKenna a bulk discount to enable her to buy more masks.
"If we can get more donations, then we’ll buy more masks and hope we can exceed our target," Linda said.
The idea for the fundraiser was born after Linda, who works for RBC, and her co-workers spent the day volunteering at the downtown shelter for an RBC Day of Service.
"We had a tour of the sleeping area and noticed these huge windows had no blinds, and the guy didn’t know why," Linda said. "That night, I shared with McKenna what a humbling experience it was and how the people sleeping there must struggle, especially in the summer, with the early morning sunlight coming in. McKenna wears a night mask to help her sleep and she had an idea. That’s how this all started."
As it turns out, the reason there are no blinds on the windows is to prevent any of the overnight guests inadvertently feeling trapped or closed in.
Linda is proud of her daughter’s fundraising efforts and pleased McKenna is learning life lessons and showing empathy toward others.
"It’s just nice that she can recognize the importance of giving back. At the end of the day, her goal is to give everybody that slept (at Siloam Mission) a good night’s sleep."
Despite her accomplishments so far, McKenna remains modest when discussing her contribution to the mission.
"It just feels good to be helping people," McKenna said, adding her own experiences helped her come up with the campaign. "Sometimes I feel like going to bed early, and the sun comes through the windows, so the night mask helps me sleep."
"It’s great that the neighbours helped out when I went knocking on their doors for donations."
Siloam Mission, located at 300 Princess St., helps individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty in Winnipeg through services including supportive housing, meal programs, a clothing program, employment training, transition services and health care, as well as its 100-bed emergency overnight shelter.
For more information, or to donate to McKenna’s fundraiser, email firstname.lastname@example.org