“Stephen sends a huge thank you to each and every one of you. Words cannot express the gratitude we feel. Thank you for helping so many children in need this Christmas. How great will be the day when we can all celebrate that all children will have homes, their own beds to sleep in and new toys at Christmas!”
— Nancy McPhee, mother of Stephen McPhee and Director of Stephen’s Backpacks Society for Children in Need
Stephen, an autistic boy from Airdrie, Alta., who started Stephen’s Backpacks when he was six years old in 2006, had a simple desire to help homeless children. He began by sharing 15 backpacks full of toys donated by friends and family. Since then, his wish has grown to delivering more than 16,000 backpacks last holiday season. It also led employees in Calgary, Airdrie, Stettler, Brooks and Rocky Mountain House, Alta., plus Cranbrook, B.C., to hold TransCanada’s first toy drive in support of the organization last month, and the company’s donation of a used fleet vehicle to the cause.
“I’m so proud to see TransCanada employees come together across offices and communities in support of a good cause,” said Wendy Hanrahan, Executive Vice President of Corporate Services at TransCanada. “More than ever this holiday season, there is a pressing and immediate need to help Albertans. Through our toy drive and ongoing support of flood relief efforts, TransCanada hopes to demonstrate that the people and communities affected by this summer’s devastating flooding have not been forgotten.”
The donations will go directly to help children and families in communities hard hit by the southern Alberta flooding, including the people of the Stoney and Siksika Nations.
“Those backpacks, the shoes that you provided for our children are very much needed, especially because of the flood that we’ve had at Siksika Nation.”
— Margaret Watercheif, a representative from Siksika Nation
TransCanada helped connect Stephen’s Backpacks to Siksika, Piikani, Stoney and Hobbema First Nations through contacts built by our Aboriginal Relations staff. “It has been a wonderful partnership knowing that we can connect Stephen with those communities in need, and transfer TransCanada’s connections in the communities where we operate so that they can receive a gift from Stephen,” said Patricia Poulton, Community and Aboriginal Relations Liaison with TransCanada.
In 2008, TransCanada was the first corporate sponsor to donate to Stephen’s Backpacks. Since then, TransCanada has donated more than $30,000 and created a ripple effect — bringing in about 100 corporate sponsors the year after. Stephen’s Backpacks now has close to 350 corporate sponsors.
“You need to dream out loud. If you do that, everything is possible,” Stephen said before TransCanada staff helped load the truck with presents.
TransCanada’s Rocky Mountain Region has been donating used fleet vehicles that are scheduled for replacement to community groups since 2003. First Nations, emergency services, food banks, fire departments and search and rescue organizations have all benefited over the years.
TransCanada is proud to be a community building partner by supporting organizations and initiatives that bring communities together, develop leadership and engage citizens. For more information about our community investment activities across North America, visi our Community Investment page on TransCanada.com.
“You need to dream out loud. If you do that, everything is possible.”
— Stephen McPhee, Stephen’s Backpacks Society for Children in Need