Champion of Hope Donor Spotlight: Access Storage

Food4Kids Waterloo Region is extremely grateful that Access Storage stepped forward as a community leader to support us and help feed our kids. Their three-year commitment of $10,000, for a total of $30,000, makes them the very first company to become a Champion of Hope Donor and this generous gift will make a significant impact on our mission to feed hungry kids. We had a chance to sit down and chat with their staff as part of our new donor spotlight feature “Tell Us In 10” to discuss their story.

1. Tell us a little about the history of Access Storage and how your company got started and where you are today?

Access Storage started 20 years ago with a single location in Oshawa, Ontario. Since then, we have grown to more than 230 locations across Canada. Despite the growth, we still hold the same beliefs that when a community we serve is healthy, we are healthy as a company. We have kept that commitment. We are proudly Canadian owned from coast to coast and our mandate is – Buy Local. Shop Local. Store Local.

2. What might someone be surprised to learn about your company?

People are surprised to learn that we have more than 150 national, regional and local partners across Canada. What our company is most proud of is the support we provide at all levels of community. From grassroots and charitable organizations, hospitals and music festivals, to little league through to professional sports, including the Toronto Raptors and Team Canada – we are invested in Canadian communities.

3. What is something that your company is very proud of that you would like to share?

Being a Canadian owned and operated company is at the core of who we are. We employ over 800 staff nationally, and are very proud to support the communities where we work and live.

4. Tell us how your first became aware and/or involved with Food4Kids Waterloo Region?

We were in the middle of a campaign to see how we could support what’s important in the KW community. Our KW colleague Deanna Wood brought Food4Kids WR’s name forward after having a long conversation with Food4Kids WR board member and longtime Access Storage client Bryan Hamilton.

After their chat, she was so moved and inspired that she sent messages on to the Access Storage head office to consider supporting us. She made this happen. She was compelled to respond to our needs and she originally proposed to us and said we were a great organization. That is what matters – what is important to our colleagues is important to us.

After the initial recommendation, we had a long phone call with your former Executive Director, Kelly Sue Oberle and she also had a big part of us becoming involved with Food4Kids Waterloo Region. When we spoke to her on the phone, we were drawn to her passion and dedication and commitment and sheer authenticity to support the community and she is a big part of making this happen.

5. What inspires your company’s giving spirit? We can see from your website that your company has a strong belief that a strong sense of family and even stronger commitment to community. You have an incredible legacy of giving back across a wide variety of areas Canada wide, including sponsoring programs, activities and events of all kinds including family activities, initiatives to support mental health, seniors, children, churches, hospitals, golf tournaments, festivals, sporting events, leagues, and teams and more. Tell us more.

We align with like-minded organizations with an equal passion and desire to support community in all areas. Our core values and personal beliefs are embedded throughout the organization and shown within our colleagues across the country. We are very family-centric, with so many of our employees being parents themselves, the desire to support children having access to healthy food was a natural fit for us.

This internal sense of giving has never been more true than how we learned about Food4Kids Waterloo Region. If your board member had not cared so much about your organization, he would not have spoken to our store manager and inspired her to carry the request for support forward internally, and here we are. Caring and compassion are an integral part of our company and those that are part of our team.

6. What interests your company most about our organization and what would you tell others about why you are supporting us?

The decision to support Food4Kids Waterloo Region is a simple one. The success of your growth since 2016, speaks to your compassion, resilience, and dedication to supporting children with food insecurities. Our ability to support your efforts in feeding over 800 children with chronic hunger is truly our privilege and honour and we are grateful that there are services like yours in the Waterloo Region which help to support vulnerable children.

7. What is something that has surprised you the most about Food4Kids Waterloo Region?

Throughout his process and getting to understand your organization, what has been most surprising is realizing the great need within the community. Also gaining a better understanding of the daily and weekly programming services you provide and the reach you have within our community. You are recognizing this great need and we are recognizing how this small but mighty charity is addressing this need. Nothing short of remarkable.

8. We are feeding children living with chronic hunger and we often hear stories from our volunteers or donors how their personal experiences resonate with the work we are doing. Do you have any anonymous stories to share?

STORY #1 I grew up one of 5 children of hard-working parents and I remember eating cereal at our house as a child. There were two kinds in the cupboard – what was considered to be healthy cereal, and a more fun, kid friendly variety. My parents rationed the ‘special cereal’ and I grew up feeling that impact. I remember how it made me feel when I got to eat it and fully aware of how hard my parents worked to get it for us. I can totally relate to how these children might be feeling, because of that childhood memory.

STORY #2 I was delivering food once in the Halton area and it took me several trips to get the food to their doorstep. I vividly remember a little boy at the door asking me if there was maple syrup in the bags to go with the pancake mix they were receiving. At the time, my son was not far from his age, and I remember thinking that he would only eat a particular brand of syrup at our house. And the realization that this boy was getting NO syrup in his bag. I remember that feeling that these are ALL our children. When I left and got back in my car, went to the store and bought him some syrup. It was a general sense of doing the right thing for my community. Over the years, I have taken my kids to deliver too, so they could experience it with me and appreciate what they have. Donating our time and hoping to make a difference.

9. What would you say to another individual or company who is considering donating, volunteers or getting involved with Food4Kids Waterloo Region?

If you have the opportunity to provide your time, talent or treasure – do it. We can all make a difference towards a future where no child goes hungry. It is incumbent of all of us. Helping children at Food4Kids Waterloo Region is really food for our soul.

10. Do you have anything more you would like to add?

We are grateful to have the ability to work with Food4Kids Waterloo Region, and to know that we can make a difference. Thank you for the incredible work you do to support children and families in the Waterloo community. We couldn’t make it without Food4Kids Waterloo Region, and for Kelly Sue and the staff at your charity, who cares so much about feeding these kids.

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