Peter (right) sorts food hampers and delivers them to families in need on a regular basis.
More than 15 years ago, Peter Duff, team leader of corporate HR and refinery applications at Suncor, started delivering food hampers because he wanted to provide hands on support for members of his community in St. John’s. Peter began volunteering with the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP), an international organization run entirely by volunteers. Today, Peter is the Executive Director of Membership for the SSVP St. Teresa’s conference, recruiting and screening new volunteers eager to make a difference in their community. Peter was selected as a SunCares Changemaker earlier this year for his work with the SSVP.
“It’s easy to look into a community and see someone in need – it takes hard-work, dedication and support to take action and make positive change to fulfill that need,” says Peter.
Throughout the years, the SSVP has provided services and programs to address the evolving needs of its communities. One of their most recent initiatives is Seeds of Hope, a program focused on raising awareness for the Canada Learning Bond (CLB). The CLB is a Government of Canada funded program designed to kick start Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) with a $500 deposit to help cover the costs of education after high school. Peter, one of the five committee members for Seeds of Hope, helps educates low-income families about the opportunities and resources available to them.
“Seeds of Hope is all about breaking the cycle of poverty,” says Peter. “Children set up with RESPs are 50% more likely to pursue post-secondary education. We’re helping them invest a little more in their future.”
Through the SunCares Changemakers program, Peter had the opportunity to direct a one-time gift of $20,000 from the Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF) to the organization of his choice. Peter directed $10,000 to the SSVP and $10,000 to Iris Kirby House, a shelter in St. John’s and Carbonear, NL for women and children experiencing domestic violence.
“The Iris Kirby House is the only shelter in St. John’s that houses women and their children during such vulnerable times,” says Peter. “I know this donation will go directly to helping families find shelter, security and support during traumatic experiences.”
This is the second in a series of articles highlighting the stories of the five 2019 SunCares Changemakers announced April 8, and the impact they’re having in their communities.