Why Penny Jamieson started “Helping Other People Everyday”
Penny Jamieson has a very deep passion for what she does. It all started with Hurricane Katrina. Hearing how families had lost not only their homes but all their possessions, and their desperate need for the bare essentials, Penny, along with her friend Janice, set to work collecting items they could send to the devastated families of New Orleans.
They worked for six weeks collecting everything from soap, toothpaste and deodorant to towels, clothes and toys with the result that a cargo container was needed to ship everything to the people recovering from the storm’s aftermath.
After sorting, labelling and boxing everything, and sending a 53-foot trailer full of items to New Orleans, Penny couldn’t help but finding it very rewarding to help total strangers.
In 2008, the two ladies decided to collect toys for children of low income families. Together they collected 325 and divided them among the Centre Wellington Resource Centre and the Salvation Army in Guelph. The following year, their efforts paid off exponentially, and 1,500 toys as well as some PJs were collected. All were donated to low income families and single mothers via local agencies.
In 2009, a similar campaign called Sweet Dreams was launched. The pair asked everyone they knew to help collect preferably new PJs, slippers and blankets for all age groups of children, women and men to give to local charities for Christmas. The goal was to have everyone warm and cozy during the winter season so they could have “sweet dreams.”
Donations from their endeavours cover more than just the local area and have spread from northern Wellington County to Centre Wellington, Guelph, Cambridge and Kitchener agencies.
Originally called Power of H.O.P.E., in 2011 Penny applied for not-for-profit status and in March that year, Power of HOPE Community Organization became a registered not-for-profit corporation, and in 2014 the organization became a registered charity.
Run by a dedicated Board of Directors and helped by other volunteers, Power of HOPE raises money and collects donations of much needed items through a variety of fundraising events, penny drives and PJ and stuffed toy drives at local businesses and stores.
In 2012, its efforts extended to helping low income families in Woodstock area.