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The Importance of Community

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At Friesens, located in the heart of Altona, Manitoba, community is a meaningful way of life. We recognize that our success is intricately linked to the welfare of our employees, the local community, and globally.

Supporting our local community, as it has supported us for the past 117 years, is a powerful way for Friesens to make a positive impact beyond our daily work. We believe our community deserves our investment; many of our employee-owners dedicate their time to non-profits and charities. By investing in local initiatives, we help strengthen the fabric of Altona and other communities in the Pembina Valley and beyond.

One of those initiatives that has been ongoing since 2018 is our internal “Pay Day Forward Friday”, started by Rod Dueck and Sandi Enns. This initiative encourages Friesens front-office staff to make a donation to the Rhineland and Area Food Bank and/or a second non-profit that is selected for a term. Reminders go out every two weeks, and donations of food or cash are made as employees are able.

Friesens Employee-Owners Sandi Enns and Rod Dueck.
Photo courtesy of Pembina Valley Online.

This last pay period, though, things got a bit more competitive. With so many long-term employees in the office, Rod and Sandi challenged their peers to donate 50 cents for every year they have worked at Friesens, and that’s when the donations took off. “Some people got out of hand and started challenging each other saying, ‘I’m going to donate two dollars for every year I’ve worked here’ then someone else said, ‘well, I’m going to do four dollars’,” said Sandi. Add to the fact that there were Stanley Cup playoffs happening at the same time, and it was a recipe for success.

In the end, the employee-owners raised $1,100 and donated 126 food items. In response to a call to have Friesens CEO Chad Friesen and Friesens match the donation another $900 was added to the pot, making the donation an even $2,000.

Employee-Owner John Thiessen presenting a cheque to Ang Stoesz of the Food Bank as part of the 2023 Employee-Directed Giving Campaign.

Being able to give back to the community is woven into the fabric of what makes Friesens Corporation so successful. To quote our founder, D.W. Friesen, “We will be successful if our customers are successful.” The same can be said about our community!

The Rhineland and Area Food Bank experienced a 35% increase in total client visits in 2023, serving a total of 2,638 client family visits. That averaged to 52 per week versus 38 per week in 2022. Through March of this year, the Food Bank is averaging 57.

“We’ve just got to thank the volunteers who work at the foodbank,” added Rod. “Because they’re there every week sorting and purchasing. A lot of the stuff they do, I’ve been told recently, that it’s financial contributions and then they still have to go do the shopping. So, we’re just a little cog in this thing. They’re the ones doing the work.”

Read the full story from Pembina Valley Online here.