On March 15 I stood in the Manitoba legislature to honour the Mennonite Central Committee, a charitable organization with worldwide impact that also benefits our own North Kildonan neighbourhoods.
MCC was formed in 1920 to provide famine relief for Mennonites in the Ukraine, but has since expanded to offer compassion and help through 50 worldwide offices. Today these international outposts provide food for 124,000 people and HIV assistance for 133,000 people.
MCC has educated nearly 44,000 children, trained over 1,000 teachers, planted 2,300 gardens and 1.7 million trees, and built 776 water structures. A further 11,000 people have been trained in advocacy and 23,000 in mediation. In Canada, MCC sponsors over 1,800 newcomers and refugees. MCC is no small organization.
Mennonite Disaster Service teams have helped Manitobans respond to floods at home and abroad. Friends of mine have taken holiday time to go on an MCC mission to help with disaster relief in various overseas countries as well as on our own continent. And on an ongoing basis, two of Manitoba’s MCC facilities co-ordinate relief to fund local organizations including Aboriginal Neighbours, Journeys to Justice, Voices for Non-Violence, and the International Volunteer Exchange Program.
Funding for these significant initiatives comes from larger sponsorships and various MCC businesses such as Sam’s Place Cafe and Bookstore on Henderson Highway and the MCC thrift stores dotted across Winnipeg and other southern Manitoban communities. Notably, Ten Thousand Villages stores like the one at 963 Henderson Hwy. operate on a fair trade business model, and Ten Thousand Villages is now North America’s largest and oldest Fair Trade organization.
MCC’s newest initiative is tucked away in the heart of North Kildonan, in my constituency of Rossmere. The Kildonan MCC Thrift Shop on the corner of Rothesay and Edison is the first clearance centre in Winnipeg and uniquely sells clothes and other items by the pound. This new store is accessible by bus, is close to many apartments, and has been well received by longstanding residents of the area and newcomers alike.
As well as honouring MCC’s global and local efforts in the legislature, I was pleased to attend the grand opening of the new clearance store at 396 Edison Ave. on March 28. This is a great place where by making even a small purchase, we can support a local organization, while helping others across the world too.
Read more by Andrew Micklefield.