This year presented many challenges to our outstanding volunteers. How do you run a United Way event virtually? Our ambassadors and core committee stepped up to the challenge brilliantly and used their creativity to bring events and activities to people’s homes through their computers, raising money for a cause we’re all so proud of.
This year’s Souper Day was a little different than years past. In partnership with UW Food Services, we brought the soup to you through meal kits that included all the ingredients necessary to make and enjoy soup from home.
Purchase of a meal kit also included access to a live cooking class led by Chef Mark Meinzinger. In addition to learning how to make the dish, participants learned about the ingredients used, variations of the recipe, and some of the great food security initiatives supported by the United Way.
The meal kit and cooking show held on Thursday, October 29th featured butternut squash soup. Norah McRae, Associate Provost, Co-op and Experiential Education at UWaterloo as well as Nancy Bird, VP, Strategy and Business Development from United Way Waterloo Region Communities joined as celebrity chefs. More than 30 people participated and generated $1,045 for United Way.
Due to popular demand, we hosted a second cooking show on Thursday, December 10th featuring butternut squash risotto. This time, Jeff Casello, Associate Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs joined as a celebrity chef. Over 40 people were in attendance and contributed an additional $665 toward United Way.
Melissa Holst, from the campaign’s events sub-committee, recalls the positive response that these events generated:
The audience loved the experience and learned so many tips and tricks while cooking. Everyone was engaged, and excited to host another virtual cooking show in the near future.
Evidently, these events were a new and welcome spin on a cherished UWaterloo tradition.
Although the pandemic prevented us from gathering for office bakes sales and potlucks, that did not stop the Registrar’s Office from enjoying and sharing each other’s food. United Way Ambassadors, Anuja Bajaj and Jenn Mackie, decided to collect and compile their colleagues’ favourite dishes into one digital cookbook. Included in the cookbook was a note on their inspiration:
“WE LOVE FOOD!! As this year's United Way Ambassadors – we figured ‘what better way to raise funds than to create a cookbook of all our favourite (and most-missed) pot-luck recipes?’ Thank you to everyone who helped make this a great FUNdraising experience!”
For a minimum of $25, purchasers received a copy of the COVID Cookbook (which contained a valued colleague’s coveted cinnamon bun recipe – worth the cost of the book all on its own!). All of the proceeds went toward United Way. Through these events, the Registrar’s Office contributed $1,730 to the campaign in support of the local community.