What began as a small conversation among friends about how to help others in the community has turned into a philanthropic group of women in Lethbridge, Alta.
“We’re all pretty passionate about giving back in our communities. Each of us has our own interests and things that we do to contribute to making a better community,” said Girl Gang YQL member Ashley Mckenzie. “We spend a ton of time together anyways, we might as well do it as a gang, a ‘girl gang,’ and give back.”
Wanting to give back again, the group decided to throw a patio party in the summer with proceeds going to a Girl Gang member’s charity of choice.
Having worked with Lethbridge Family Services for eight years, Mckenzie pitched her idea for this summer’s fundraiser.
“All of the money that we raise here tonight at Hudson’s is going to go to the Community Connections Volunteer program, which is an incredible program where newcomer families are met with community members who sign up to volunteer, and they become kind of like a Canadian family friend,” Mckenzie said.
Funds raised will go to help support two events run by LFS Immigrant Services.
“One is the Community Connections picnic, which happens every August,” Mckenzie explained. “All the newcomer families get to come and bring their volunteer families. It’s kind of a celebration of culture and diversity and welcomeness. Then another evening they host is the Women’s Cooking Night.”
The group’s generosity isn’t going unnoticed.
“It’s fantastic,” said Sarah Amies, director of LFS Immigrant Services. “There are so many really well-deserving organizations, not-for-profit service providers in Lethbridge who could just as easily and handily use the money as we can. I’m just incredibly indebted, perhaps to the connection that we had with one of those Girl Gang members who remembered us and remembered what our need is.”
The Girl Gang says this is just the beginning.
“We hope to become a bigger part of the community and support other events and have other Girl Gang members join us,” Mckenzie said. “We’re hoping for somewhat of a movement!”