Coronavirus: Edmonton company turning construction waste into cash as charities struggle

Click to play video: 'Some charities struggling during COVID-19 pandemic'
Some charities struggling during COVID-19 pandemic
WATCH ABOVE: Nearly eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, charities are in different stages of where they need to be to meet their goals. Sarah Komadina reports – Oct 24, 2020

KBL Environmental, a Canadian company with a corporate office in Leduc, Alta, has stepped up to help with a rather unique fundraising idea for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has many Edmonton charities dealing with a drop in donations amid a struggling community. On top of that, many organizations have had to completely revamp their fundraisers from traditional banquet-style events to online.

The recycling company is encouraging its clients to bring in massive loads of waste into its material recovery facility, which helps recycle construction materials like concrete, wood and metal — and in honour of whichever client brings in the most to be recycled, the company will donate $25 per metric ton of that load.

“Generally speaking, if one of the clients brings somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 truckloads this week, we’d be providing up to $10,000 to the Stollery,” Jeff Dirks, the president of KLB Environmental, said.

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“We chose the Stollery because it’s a local organization that does such important work for children and their families.”

“We wanted to do our part to support them,” Dirks said.

Read more: Keeping seniors safe from COVID-19 a challenge as coronavirus spread continues in Edmonton

Martin Schuldhaus with the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation said that the idea itself is “very unusual,” but that the charity often works with companies for similar fundraisers.

He added that the corporate fundraisers are even more important as in-person events are no longer on the table.

“We’re definitely feeling the pinch, just given the fact that it is hard times for a lot of people.”

However, he added that while times have been tough this year, it seems with the beginning of the holiday season there has been some uptick in money coming in.

“I can firmly say that we are down in fundraising,” he said. “I think you can ask any charity in Canada they are probably going to be experiencing the same thing — for us though, we have noted that we are seeing trends that are moving upward.

“We still have an obligation to fundraise and keep that hospital world-class, and so companies like KBL that figure out ways to give, make a huge difference to how we are able impact that hospital and impact mental and physical health-care advancements.”

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Click to play video: 'Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation fundraising $13M for new pediatric surgical clinic'
Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation fundraising $13M for new pediatric surgical clinic

The Stollery has also moved its annual 1,500-person Snowflake Gala online this year, changing the name to Snowed In. 

Other charities struggling

The Stollery isn’t alone in having to make changes amid COVID-19.

WINGS of Providence, which provides shelter for women and children experiencing violence, told Global News it is down more than $100,000 this year.

“We are trying to remind the community that we are here and more than ever we need support,” said Rhonda Janzen with WINGS of Providence.

WINGS has also moved its Make Believe Ball and Silent Auction online this year, in hopes that it will help it meet those shortfalls.

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Janzen added that the organization is especially important amid the pandemic, because times of stress can increase the need for support.

“Following natural disasters, economic downturns — rates of family violence increase, and increased violence and stressors really accelerate domestic violence,” Janzen said. “You can’t forget about women and children who need a safe home, and loving home.”

Read more: Alberta to match $2M in donations for charities’ COVID-19 response

Edmonton’s Food Bank says while food donations are keeping steady, there are some concerns about how things could look in the new year.

“Our services are all year round, so we are hoping that people will continue to be generous if they can be and continue to support us,” said Marjorie Bencz with the food bank.

However, the food bank says it is still planning to run Candy Cane Lane this year and hopes the mass donations from Can Man Dan events will help keep supplies up following the holidays.

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