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Teresa Rocque

Location: Edmonton, Alberta

If Teresa Rocque’s unbridled volunteerism and generosity of spirit is her way of giving back to the community, then she has repaid not only hers but the debts of a hundred or more.

More than 10 years ago, Teresa started her first Edmonton-area non-profit organization, HEARTS – Help Everyone Access Resources Through Support. She now carries that mission forward with her most current initiative, Campaign to Empower the Community. The Campaign to Empower is a continuation of the Christmas Campaign for Families in Need, with the goal of empowering those who are struggling by providing the means to help them meet their basic needs.

Currently fundraising to secure a physical space from which to operate, the Campaign to Empower is currently run through the organization’s Facebook group. At almost 10,000 members strong, the Facebook group enables members to offer up gently used and new items to be donated. Volunteers are presently offering space in their own homes to store, organize and distribute the items to those suffering financial hardship. The dream is to re-establish a home base that will once again allow them to help the current high mark of 11,500 people the group was able to reach in a period of six months.

The work is daunting but clearly doable for Teresa and her committed band of volunteers. Along with ongoing support 365 days a year, Christmas continues to be a time of the most pressing need for struggling families and individuals. The 2022 “21 Days of Giving” initiative helps to support the campaign in providing 117 families with sponsored hampers containing the fixings for both Christmas breakfast and dinner, along with toys for children and food, as well as household and personal hygiene items plentiful enough to carry the family through to the New Year. And the campaign does not forget the adults, with parents receiving PJs and a gift to brighten their own holidays. Even without the benefit of an identified sponsor, the campaign provided an additional 96 Christmas hampers to bring joy to those in need. The “21 Days of Giving” initiative is set to go again in December of 2023.

Teresa, a pediatric nurse at the Stollery Children’s Hospital, leads by example, helping to administer the Facebook group, liaising with campaign partners like the St. Albert Salvation Army and Goodmorning.com, collecting donations from around the city and doing drop offs and pickups with numerous volunteers. She is determined to do her best to ensure that no person, child or family goes without clothing, food, furniture and toys – not to mention the bikes. In 2023, the campaign has delivered 440 bicycles to Edmonton-area youth since May, making for an especially fun summer for the lucky recipients.

To ensure all families and individuals are always treated with respect and dignity is the mission of Teresa Rocque, a much-deserving recipient of Northern Lights Volunteer Recognition Program honours.

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