Dec 27, 2011 • By

Canada stuffed the bus

“Stuff the bus” was a command taken literally by the employees of General Mills Canada. They recently crammed more than 1,900 pants and sweaters, 450 coats, 500 hats, scarves and gloves, and 80 pairs of shoes and boots into a school bus in their parking lot in Toronto.

The donations from the bus went to the Boys & Girls Club of Peel, Ontario, for the families living at the Acorn Place public housing complex.

In addition, General Mills employees also donated a record $474,180 to United Way of Peel Region in their annual giving campaign, almost $80,000 more than their goal. United Way of Peel Region serves the communities of Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga.

Basima Roshan, a senior financial analyst with General Mills, helped coordinate the collection of clothing items and the sorting and packaging of all the donations.

“It felt great! I’m very proud of all the employees for their donations and participation,” Basima says. “The best part was filling up the bus with all the bags, driving to the community and helping the individuals at Acorn Place hand pick the items they liked.”

Nata Furtado, a business Analyst in Customer Service, also was a part of the visit to Acorn Place to help families find specific clothing for their needs.

“Seeing how we are able to give back to the community first hand is always very emotional for me,” says Nata. “Not only was this a success with the amazing participation of our employees bringing in gently-used and new clothes, but it was great to see the happy and satisfied faces of the children and moms going home with outfits and coats. Those families gave more to me than I can ever give to them.”

(Basima, left, and Nata.)

Nata says the time involved to make the campaign a success was well worth it.

“It is easy to just write a cheque, but when you are asked to take some of your time to go through your closets and contact friends for clothes, then it becomes personal,” says Nata.

Basima says she’s most proud about the increase of the total donation of clothes and money, and the overall involvement from the General Mills Canada employees.

“It makes a difference and the need is high, now more than ever,” she says.

During our 13 year relationship with United Way of Peel, General Mills Canada has raised more than $2.6 million. Money raised throughout the United Way campaign supports community services for its organizations.