Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Companies rising to IBM's annual Corporate Challenge

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The first cheques have arrived. Thanks folks.

Today, we are publishing this year's initial list of donors to the Spirit of Christmas campaign. The total is $4,415, a little shy of last year's number on this date. So, I want to give you all another gentle reminder that the Christmas Cheer Board estimates it will distribute 19,500 hampers this holiday season, and it relies heavily on our campaign here at the Free Press sports department to help fund that effort.

Among our top supporters over the years have been the good people who participate in the IBM Corporate Challenge. Michael Bligh, chairman of the 2010 IBM Corporate Challenge, is spearheading the effort for the third year and he told me Monday that the planning is in high gear.

"We're all fired up... getting all the plans in place," said Bligh. "It's definitely an exciting time of the year."

In its 19th year, the Challenge currently has nine participants fo this year's event, which is being called Christmas Should Happen For Everyone: IBM Canada Ltd., Wellington West Capital Inc., Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP, Pollard Banknote Ltd., Manitoba Hydro, Shaw Cable, Bristol Aerospace, Canadian Wheat Board, PeopleFirst HR Services.

Since 1992, the Challenge has raised more than 117,000 pounds of food, more than 14,000 toys, and more than $355,000 through the generosity of the many participating companies. This year, the official challenge runs until Dec. 10 and it hopes to raise 10,000 pounds of non-perishable food, 1,000 new toys and $30,000 cash.

"It really has grown over the years," Bligh explained. "What has really amazed me is that even during difficult economic times, it has still grown and people have still stepped up to help, which has been really nice to see."

Here's how it works: Each participating organization encourages its employees to donate cash, food and toys or prepare and deliver hampers for the event. Participants are recognized and an overall "winner" will be declared based on employee contributions. Each organization receives a participation plaque.

Participants in the Challenge get "credits" for various efforts. For example: $1 cash = 1 point, 1 lb. of food = 2 points, 1 toy = 10 points, commitment to deliver a hamper = 25 points per hamper. There's also significent points for creation of hampers. The companies involved in the Challenge will hold a variey of internal events to help encourage participation in the Challenge.

"We try to have some fun with it," said Blight. "That's certainly part of the appeal, along with raising some money for the Cheer Board, of course."

The Christmas Cheer Board has been providing food, toys and hope to needy families in Winnipeg since 1919. Cheer Board executive director Kai Madsen is appreciative of the IBM Corporate Challenge.

"What a great way for people from so many companies to come to together to make sure that everyone is able to celebrate Christmas," he said. "The IBM Challenge has for many years rallied people to donate food, toys and money -- their efforts makes a huge difference to our community and makes the work of our thousands of volunteers much easier."


Please send your donations to The Spirit of Christmas, c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.



They have the Spirit:

Dr. Ethel M. McPhail $100.00

St. Vital Curling Club

Past Presidents Assoc. $100.00

Jeanette R. Tuominen $200.00

Albert T. Shipman $200.00

In Memory of Bennet

& Morgan's grandfather,

Leonard Finney Sr. $100.00

Linda Moore $200.00

K. Bernard $200.00

Al & Caroline Lundgren $50.00

In Memory of Clifford

& Lois Burgess $50.00

In Memory of Olive Barnard $50.00

Beryl Long $50.00

In Memory of Eric Refvik $50.00

Sandra Wood $80.00

Bert Moon $25.00

In Memory of Robert $100.00

Fred Forsyth $100.00

In Memory of Jim Bone $50.00

Mary S. Robertson $25.00

Carol Rebizant $50.00

In Memory of

Jay Stuart Bates $25.00

Doreen Romanow $15.00

In Memory of

Jack Watterworth $25.00

Avis Briscoe $100.00

Paul & Shirley Lindsay $45.00

Rene & Lise Dupuis $125.00

Jane Hayakawa $100.00

In Memory of Gwen Wilcock $100.00

Jerry G. Ilchyna $100.00

In Memory of

Nick & Mary Chliboyko $100.00

Norman & Nora Harvey $100.00

Ray & Beth Harris $100.00

Norma Scholl $50.00

In Memory of Wally Berch $25.00

In Memory of Peter &

Pauline Bodnarus $25.00

J. Spence Shiach $50.00

Allan Harris $50.00

E. L. Ramsay $100.00

In Memory of Al Reid $50.00

Lorne Huff $50.00

Minnie A. Green $100.00

In Memory of

John Abrahamson $100.00

Olive M. Peirson $100.00

Don & Carol Poulin $100.00

Ted Foreman $100.00

In Memory of

Helen & Tony Reelfs $50.00

In Memory of Mom & Pop,

Daisy & Jack Moran $100.00

Grant & Sheila Woods $200.00

J. Laurie Johnston $100.00

Anonymous (two donations) $350.00

Today's Total $4,415.00

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 1, 2010 C6

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