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Fighting Homelessness in Our Community, One Night at a Time

MaryAnne Connor & Merinda Widmer
Merinda presents her check to NightShift Founder MaryAnne Connor.

Surrey BC is a city in a period of growth. The third fastest-growing city in Canada, Surrey welcomes more than 1000 new residents every month. It’s affordable housing prices make it a desirable spot for young couples and recent immigrants to set up their home.

But not everyone is benefiting from this economic boom. In Surrey alone, an average of 600 people sleep on the streets every night, in doorways, makeshift shelters, tents, or dilapidated motor homes without heat or plumbing. This number soars to over 2,000 when you count the entire homeless population of the Greater Vancouver area.

Surrey is also the home of Raven Supply. Our head office is located near the rapidly growing Newton area. Our staff live nearby and know the businesses and community first hand. We also try to do what they can to give back to the city when we can. 

Inside Sales Engineer Merinda Widmer kept this in mind when she chose NightShift Street Ministries as the recipient of her Raven Giving Fund donation. 

“I chose NightShift as my non-profit organization because of the amazing things they’re doing for Surrey’s homeless population,” she explains. “At a time when more than 7,000 people in our province are homeless, their services are more crucial than ever.”

NightShift Kitchen
New kitchen facilities at NightShift.

During a 2018 survey of the homeless population in BC, 58% of individuals surveyed reported that they live with two or more medical conditions, while 44% reported one medical condition and 33% reported a physical disability. When it came to mental illness, the numbers were also sobering, with 40% of respondents battling mental health conditions as well as spending cold nights on the street. 

“It’s always surprised me how many misconceptions people have about the homeless community,” Merinda says, adding that she believes that no one is to fault for ending up without a roof over their head. 

“This organization does fantastic things to help our local homeless population,” she continues. “In 2017, NightShift provided 36,500 hot meals, 3,500 warm blankets, 810 safe nights of sleep for women, and 105 evenings of the car bus. All this and more without any government funding.”

Merinda’s Raven Giving Fund contribution of $250.00 will go towards helping NightShift continue this valuable work. Every year, the Raven Giving Fund gives each of our employees $250.00 to donate to a charity or non-profit organization of their choice. Thanks Merinda for being a great community member and an outstanding member of the Raven team!

To find out more about NightShift, please click here. 

From Iowa to BC, Industrial Steam is here!

Deaerators, boiler feed systems, blowdown separators and more.

Here at Raven Supply, we’re always excited to connect with new suppliers. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce a new partnership with Industrial Steam.

industrial Steam Accumulator
Industrial Steam Accumulator

Industrial Steam is a longstanding engineering and manufacturing company known for their exceptional catalog of boiler heaters and ancillary equipment that includes state-of-the-art deaerators, wet steam accumulators, and feedwater, blowdown, and fuel oil systems.

Jet Spray Deaerator
Industrial Steam Jet Spray Deaerator

Established in 1952, Industrial Steam was born out of a spirit of invention by self-taught engineer Martin “Mike” Bekedam and by Jim Williams, who joined the company early on. Together, they perfected their boiler systems to serve a huge variety of customers that included wineries, meat processing facilities, and tomato processing plants. Together they built and perfected customized boilers, burners, deaerators and chemical feed systems.

It was in this way that from its earliest days, Industrial Steam distinguished itself as an early adopter of technology and an innovator in the industry. So it was no surprise to us that its product line includes some cutting-edge offerings. For example, the one-of-a-kind Industrial Steam Jet Spray deaerator offers new potential for boiler protection by using a 2-stage process to remove atomized water in order to reduce oxygen in boiler systems. And Industrial Steam’s sturdy skid-mounted oil pump sets and day tanks for ring main distribution systems offer built to use filtration systems that automatically filter and chemical treat the fuel to remove water, microbes and solids which are discharged into a containment tank.

Industrial Steam is based in Atlantic Iowa, and we’re sure happy to bring their product line up to our Surrey BC warehouse for our commercial and industrial customers in BC and the Yukon.

 

Linna Luu Picks the Volunteer Grandparents for Her Raven Giving Fund Donation

Volunteer Grandparents LogoGrandparents play a much more substantial role in children’s lives than simply providing free childcare, according to some recent studies. A 2018 study claims that children who have regular interactions with grandparents have less behavioural problems,  and one from 2014 suggests that kids who have regular interactions with a grandparents are less likely to suffer from depression as adults. 

But in Metro Vancouver, where many young families are far from home and extended relatives, children are often raised with once a week Skype calls as their only contact to grandparents overseas. That’s where the Volunteer Grandparents come in. Volunteer Grandparents is a non-profit organization that connects seniors with some spare time to children in our community who don’t have grandparents nearby. 

Linna Luu knows how important grandparents are in a family from personal experience. 

“My grandparents have made a great impact on my life,” explains Linna. These days, Linna is a Project Engineer at Raven Supply. When it came time for her to make a donation to the organization of her choice through the Raven Giving Fund, Linna wanted to help other kids have the same beneficial experiences that helped her become successful. 

Linna Luu drops off her Raven Giving Fund donation at Volunteer Grandparents.

“I’m positive these Volunteer Grandparents will make a significant difference in the lives of many children,” Linna explains. She knows that like any relationship, the one between child and grandparents is a win-win on both sides.

“I think that seniors often get left behind in our society, and this non-profit provides a way for these seniors to share their knowledge and experience with a younger generation while staying connected with their community,” she adds. 

Volunteer Grandparents runs several programs. The Family Match program matches the volunteer with a family with kids aged 3 to 14 looking for the senior to take part in their family community. The School Grandparents Program connects seniors with elementary students, and the Ambassador program gives seniors the chance to volunteer at summer events. 

But like everything she does, Linna had a very specific plan for her $250.00 Raven Giving Fund donation, and made the decision to direct her support to the Volunteer Grandparents’ Florio Bursary Program

“I specifically chose to support the Florio bursary because of the process required to be eligible for this bursary – the Volunteer Grandparents must provide a written explanation on why the grandchild they recommend should receive financial assistance to help fund an activity such as piano lessons or ski lessons,” she explains.

“This process not only provides a screening process for applicants, but also shows the children that their Volunteer Grandparents think of them and care for them as much as a biological grandparent would.”

Thank you Linna for all your hard work, and for doing what you can to make sure more children have the support they need to achieve their own successes. 

To learn more about the Volunteer Grandparents, please visit www.volunteergrandparents.ca.

Why Ashley Supports The Surrey Women’s Centre

Ashley Donates to the Surrey Women's Centre
Ashley was thrilled to drop off her donation to the Surrey Women’s Center

When it came time for General Manager and Partner Ashley Bouchard to make a choice about how to spend her Raven Giving Fund donation, she knew exactly what to do.

“I chose to donate to the Surrey Women’s Centre- Surrey Mobile Assault response team, because the statistic of 1 out of 3 women who experience physical or sexual assault in their lifetime is too high,” she explains.

“It’s my hope with this program is that women will be able to get out of dangerous situations, and in turn raise healthy, happy, and strong children,” Ashley says. “It’s all about stopping the cycle of abuse and violence. Everyone can use help and these programs help prove that you don’t have to go through this alone.”

Ashley has been a supporter of the Surrey Women’s Centre for the last 7 years. In addition to the Mobile Assault response team, this non-profit organization operates as a crisis centre for women and girls escaping domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence complete with a drop-in centre, workshops, and legal and counselling services .

Ashley first came in contact with the organization when she was looking for some place to donate clothing and household items and came across the Sharing Closet at their Drop-In Centre location. Immediately, she was surprised and impressed by the selection of services this organization provides to women in need.

“What I love about them is that they do not charge the ladies to take clothing and supplies home. They have shopping days on Wednesday where the ladies can come in to a comfortable environment and get the things they need.” Ashley smiles. “They also take children’s items and personal care items as well.”

Like every staff member, Ashley got the opportunity to drop-in and give her donation to the Surrey Women’s Centre staff in person.

“I felt very fortunate to be able to contribute to such a worthy cause in our local neighbourhood. The team at the centre was so welcoming and eager to share stories about the rest of the work that they do,” she recalls.

The Raven Giving Fund gives each member of our Raven Supply team with a $250.00 donation to give to a community group or non-profit they feel passionate about. It’s just part of our way of staying connected to our community, and also supporting our team members in their interests and passions outside of work. Curious? Read more about it here.