Recognizing our neighbourhood heroes.

Casera Community Awards for Leadership and Enrichment were proudly presented during our Annual General Meeting, held on April 20, 2021.

Gail Purcell receives the Casera Community Leadership Award for her determined volunteer work and the Transcona Food Bank is awarded the Casera Community Enrichment Award for its resolute food distribution to hungry families.

Gail Purcell | Casera Community Leadership Award

Gail Purcell

Gail Purcell is one of those rare individuals who see the promise in people, the possibilities of community action, and the progress that comes from personal caring and cooperative sharing. As a long-time volunteer in a broad range of community-focused activities and organizations, Gail works to make our city more inclusive and humane.

As a congregational volunteer at Transcona Memorial United Church, Gail recognizes the role that a faith-based organization plays in providing space and inspiration for community programming. Her commitment to fundraising for the Transcona Food Bank, Families Connecting, Children’s Choice Nursery School, and other programs based at the church ensures their ongoing service to the community.

Gail’s leadership extends beyond her church. She’s played vital roles in many inclusive initiatives, including volunteering her time and energy with the Rainbow Resource Centre’s Gala Planning Committee and serving on the Board at Northend Stella Community Ministry. Her volunteer work continues with 1JustCity, where she is currently the incoming Chair of the community organization.

Gail’s leadership is inspirational. Her volunteer work strengthens the fabric of our community and helps bring hope to the world.

Transcona Food Bank | Casera Community Enrichment Award

(L-R) Susan Sebastian, Vice Chair; Jack Puranen, Chair

The COVID-19 pandemic was challenging for everyone, but for the Transcona Food Bank, it meant adapting to rapidly changing processes and pivoting to procedures that ensured safe and respectful service to families.

Throughout the pandemic’s first and second waves, the Transcona Food Bank team made several operational adjustments recommended by the Manitoba Government and Harvest Manitoba, the organization that oversees food distribution to hungry Manitobans. The Food Bank went from biweekly to monthly operations, which prompted the organization to apply for a grant to serve 25 families via taxi and foldable carts that carried a month’s worth of groceries.

Because supporters shopped for groceries less during the pandemic, food donations to the Food Bank decreased. However, monetary donations increased, which meant Food Bank organizers had to shop more. Over the year and throughout the pandemic, the Transcona Food Bank supported 1,236 families, including 1,485 children.

Thanks to the leadership of Chair Jack Puranen, Vice-Chair Susan Sebastian, Treasurer Cheryl Freeman, and Secretary Midge Barry, and the selfless commitment of the Food Bank’s volunteer team, dignity and hope have remained steadfast in the community.