Power of HOPE Community Organization started with a dream;  a dream that its founder, Penny Jamieson, brought to life in 2008 in Wellington County, Waterloo Region and surrounding areas.  Details pertaining to the beginning years of Power of HOPE can be found on the Organization’s main website.

Power of HOPE opened a chapter in Oxford County after a chance meeting at a vendor show attended by both Penny and Karen Geerts.

While chatting about Power of HOPE, Penny discovered that Karen was a compassionate, caring individual, and asked if she would like to bring Power of HOPE to Woodstock.  At the time, Karen was busy opening her own business, so she declined. About six months later, the two ladies met again.  With a smile, Penny asked Karen if she was ready yet. Karen’s recent encounter with a little boy had made the decision for her.

Karen Geerts explains:

“I decided that Power of HOPE was exactly what Woodstock needed after meeting a little boy outside a store where I worked.  I looked at him and smiled, and asked him what he got for Christmas.  He didn’t say a word, so I asked what Santa brought him.  He was staring at me, saying nothing, so I asked whether he got a new car or truck or pair of new pyjamas (most grandmas give out PJs to their grandchildren at Christmas).  He told me that he got a big, yellow truck.  I asked him what else he got, and he said, ‘Just a big, yellow truck.’

This was the moment when I realized that Power of HOPE Community Organization was needed in Woodstock.  If I could find one child who didn’t receive a pair of PJs for Christmas, how many more were out there?  I decided to go looking.  WOW!  I was shocked to find out that there were a few hundred kids, possibly more.  Soon after this, in August of 2012, I brought Power of HOPE Community Organization to Woodstock.  It didn’t take long before the Organization expanded to cover all of Oxford County.”

Each year, Power of HOPE grows bigger and better.

In 2014 and 2015, the Oxford Chapter packaged 735 pairs of pyjamas.  Power of HOPE gives to the CAS — Children’s Aid Society — Ingamo Homes, and DASO — Women’s Shelter.  POH also gives Christmas packages to the Big Brother and Big Sister Organizations for their Christmas parties.

“It makes me proud to say that to the best of my knowledge, every child in Oxford County in our system received a new pair of pyjamas, along with a teddy bear, for Christmas.  We also reach out to families in our community in need of a helping hand at Christmas.”

The Oxford Chapter successfully reached its goals in Oxford County for 2014 and 2015!  With this in mind, the Board of Directors decided to find out if there were children in the London area that could also use Power of HOPE’s help.

The first step was to have a meeting with the Children’s Aid Society of London to determine if they needed Power of HOPE’s services.  During the meeting, POH discovered that there are approximately 2000 children, in the course of a year, that transition from their home to foster care or a different home other than their own.

It is for this reason that, in June of 2016, Power of HOPE Community Organization opened a new chapter in London, Ontario.

The London Chapter’s goal for this year is to help provide “Comfort Packs” for every single one of these children.

Power of HOPE raises its own funds, through corporate sponsors, individual donations and fundraising events. We are always looking for volunteers, sponsors, and locations to hold pyjama drives. See how you can get involved or contact us for more information.

Want to learn more about hosting a toy drive or volunteering?

For more information about the London Chapter, to learn more about volunteering or hosting a toy drive, please contact Dan Knight by email at  london@powerofhopeontario.ca or by phone at 519-280-8633.