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National Volunteer Week - How Adam McCauley’s story helped fill backpacks with hope

When Adam McCauley, Service Technician in the Ottawa West region, opened up to Shealee Free, Senior Manager of Solutions at Rogers for Business, and their colleagues about how he’s benefitted from services offered by Ottawa Mission, an organization dedicated to serving those experiencing homelessness or poverty in the region, the team knew they wanted to give back to the organization in a meaningful way.  

With the generous support of local schools, businesses and colleagues, Adam, Shealee and their team pulled together a one-of-a-kind initiative for the Ottawa Mission that has since sparked a chain of kindness throughout their community.  Together, donations were gathered and collected into Bags of Hope, and distributed by Ottawa technicians to those who need it most.

In honour of National Volunteer Week, we sat down with Adam and Shealee to learn more about how they brought their #TeamPossible spirit to life.

Shealee, for the last few weeks, Adam, yourself, and the Employee Community Resource Team in Ottawa have been up to something pretty special. Tell us about Bags of Hope and how it came to be?

Shealee: Bags of Hope was inspired by Adam and how he’s personally benefitted from the services offered by the Ottawa Mission. He threw out the idea that it would be amazing if we could do something for them.

Just like that, we got to work. Together, the Ottawa Employee Resource Team worked tirelessly to collect donated items like hats, gloves, socks, snacks, drinks, Tim Hortons gift cards, handwritten notes and much more to be included in what we’ve called Bags of Hope.

“When you surround yourself with like-minded people, nothing is impossible.” 

This project could not have taken flight without the incredible support from local organizations and businesses – from a local school who took part, Giant Tiger who generously gifted the gloves, Rogers Sports and Media who procured winter Blue Jays hats, Staples who donated the bags for us to fill, a local hotel who donated the shampoo and shower gel and of course, our colleagues who donated generously. This project has truly been a team effort.

In fact, we received so many donated goods that we’ve been able to fill more bags to be distributed by local Ottawa Technicians to those in need that they meet while on the road in the community.

Adam, since launching Bags of Hope, how have you noticed this initiative has made a positive impact for all those who have touched the project and have been served by it?

Adam: Since launching Bags of Hope, I’ve noticed how team members, friends and family have become more aware of just how vulnerable some members of our community are and how an army of unstoppable Rogers team members can make such an important impact.

Many of my friends are still living at the Ottawa Mission and if it weren’t for this organization, they would have nowhere to go. The Mission shows so much love to those who may be at difficult points in their lives, and they loved me, and countless others, when we didn’t love ourselves. In fact, I am now 14 years sober and active in recovery rooms. I am only one beneficiary of their love.

Left: Peter Tilley, CEO of Ottawa Mission,

Right: Adam McCauley

Most importantly, the Ottawa Mission has inspired this great initiative that Shealee and Rebecca are instituting into our culture, and it makes me appreciate the feeling of being at home here at Rogers.

To learn more about our commitment to giving back to our communities, click here.