February 18, 2019

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Opinion

House of love

Organization provides accommodation and support for people with HIV/AIDS

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>June (left) and Clive Hickson with their dogs Daisy, Zephyr and Brie. The couple have volunteered for the past 18 years with House of Hesed, a home for people living with HIV/AIDS.</p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

June (left) and Clive Hickson with their dogs Daisy, Zephyr and Brie. The couple have volunteered for the past 18 years with House of Hesed, a home for people living with HIV/AIDS.

An organization that supports people living with HIV/AIDS is celebrating a milestone this week, and volunteers are a part of its longevity.

House of Hesed will hold a belated 20th anniversary celebration Saturday. Founded in December 1998 by Moe Feakes, the organization provides housing for people with HIV/AIDS in a supportive setting.

“We’re on a shoestring all the time, month to month to month to month, so the fact that we survived financially is a miracle,” Feakes says, adding she’s grateful for being able to provide a home for people who might not otherwise have adequate living arrangements.

“When I look at some of the people who have come through our doors and are living here now, I’m just so blessed that we can offer them a safe, loving, warm home,” she says.

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An organization that supports people living with HIV/AIDS is celebrating a milestone this week, and volunteers are a part of its longevity.

House of Hesed will hold a belated 20th anniversary celebration Saturday. Founded in December 1998 by Moe Feakes, the organization provides housing for people with HIV/AIDS in a supportive setting.

"We’re on a shoestring all the time, month to month to month to month, so the fact that we survived financially is a miracle," Feakes says, adding she’s grateful for being able to provide a home for people who might not otherwise have adequate living arrangements.

"When I look at some of the people who have come through our doors and are living here now, I’m just so blessed that we can offer them a safe, loving, warm home," she says.

Ten people call House of Hesed home. In addition to her staff, Feakes relies on 15 volunteers. Two of them, Clive and June Hickson, have volunteered their time almost since the beginning.

June got involved in 2000 after her friend Theresa told her about the organization. They contacted Feakes and agreed to help cook meals at House of Hesed.

Soon, Clive, who was working as a self-employed home-renovation contractor, began volunteering his time, too, helping with repairs around the house.

Over the years, the Hicksons’ roles have changed. Today, the retired couple volunteer every second Thursday, picking up food from Winnipeg Harvest and delivering it to the house.

June once had a friend who suffered from AIDS, so for her, volunteering at House of Hesed is a way to contribute to an organization that is improving the quality of life for people like her friend.

"We like the people," June, 78, says. "The staff are fantastic — very caring and giving — and the residents are something else."

Daisy - left, Zephyr - centre and Brie - right cream</p><p>RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Volunteer Column - Clive and June Hickson for the Jan. 21 edition of my Volunteers column.</p><p>Clive, 80, and June, 78, have volunteered for the past 18 years with House of Hesed, a home for people living with HIV/AIDS. Every two weeks, Clive and June pick up food for House of Hesed from Winnipeg Harvest.</p><p>Portrait of Clive and June with their dogs , who do volunteer at House of Hesed which is celebrating and also do volunteer work at dog shelters.</p><p>Note, photo was taken in their home because that is where they felt most comfortable wanting to incorporate their dogs into the photo.</p><p>Aaron Epp,</p><p>Volunteers columnist, Winnipeg Free Press</p><p>Jan 16th, 2019</p>

Daisy - left, Zephyr - centre and Brie - right cream

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Volunteer Column - Clive and June Hickson for the Jan. 21 edition of my Volunteers column.

Clive, 80, and June, 78, have volunteered for the past 18 years with House of Hesed, a home for people living with HIV/AIDS. Every two weeks, Clive and June pick up food for House of Hesed from Winnipeg Harvest.

Portrait of Clive and June with their dogs , who do volunteer at House of Hesed which is celebrating and also do volunteer work at dog shelters.

Note, photo was taken in their home because that is where they felt most comfortable wanting to incorporate their dogs into the photo.

Aaron Epp,

Volunteers columnist, Winnipeg Free Press

Jan 16th, 2019

The Hicksons immigrated to Canada from England in 1966, and note that they have been very fortunate in life. Volunteering is a way for them to give back.

"(We have) a desire to help others," Clive, 80, says.

"You can either be totally selfish and think only of yourself, or you can be more compassionate and more giving and think of other people."

Feakes is grateful for the couple, describing them as "extremely committed."

"They have more energy and more passion than most people I know," she says. "It’s staggering."

Feakes is hoping to find a few more people to volunteer at House of Hesed.

She is looking for someone to go grocery shopping for the house every other week, as well as someone who can teach basic French to residents.

Feakes wants to find a volunteer to help with gardening and yard maintenance once spring arrives.

Anyone interested can email houseofhesedinfo@gmail.com.

The Hicksons are happy they made the decision to get involved.

"It is a really kind, warm place," Clive says.

"It’s a house of love," June adds.

If you know a special volunteer, please contact aaron.epp@gmail.com.

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