Lots of people care about other people, but educator Wendy Erlanger goes a step further — she does something about it.
After spending 24 years in California, circumstances demanded that she head back to Winnipeg. While she wasn’t terribly excited at the prospect of coming back to winter, she took to heart the wisdom a friend shared with her.
"You are going to paint your ‘W’ on Winnipeg, there is work for you to do there. When it is done, you will know why you went home," the friend said.
Well, Wendy has been home for three years now and she has definitely put her ‘W’ on our city!
In 2010, she founded More than Shoes, a Manitoba grassroots movement that outfits children in need with new, proper fitting shoes and boots. Using new and innovative fundraising ideas she has put new footwear on the feet of hundreds of children in need across the province.
This year, after witnessing numerous family and friends struggling with cancer, Wendy decided to take action again. Realizing that much of the comfort she was able to give them was via homemade soup and small acts of kindness, Wendy called in a small army to contribute ideas and recipes that would comfort people when they need it most. The More Than Soup cookbook was born.
Wendy says, "Hearing, ‘Let me know what I can do,’ too many times as well as saying it myself, often unsure of the best ways to offer support, I felt this book was a must!"
The cookbook was recently launched in grand fashion thanks to Ida Albo at the Fort Garry Hotel. A sampling of soups, bread and cookies, entertainment from local singer Sheena Grobb and a heartfelt speech from Janice Filmon rounded out the evening. Sales from the evening have been donated to CancerCare Manitoba to fund its soup cart program for one year. The soup cart provides soup for patients in the chemo rooms and waiting rooms at Health Sciences Centre, St. Boniface Hospital and refreshments at Sherbrook Cancer Centre.
If you are looking to give a meaningful holiday gift this year, visit www.MoreThanSoup.net and give a gift that gives twice. All proceeds will go to the second year of funding for the soup cart.
We would all do well to think about what leaving our mark on Winnipeg means to us. No doubt the city will be a better place to live if we take positive, pro-active action.
Stephanie Staples is a St. Vital-based motivational speaker and the author of When Enlightening Strikes – Creating a Mindset for Uncommon Success. You can find more resources for life enrichment at www.YourLifeUnlimited.ca.
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