Return to Newsroom

The Gift of Giving: Support Local


Although the holiday season looks very different this year, the tradition of giving back to the places we call home continues. Sharing holiday cheer and recognizing front line heroes who help those in need, brings our teams and communities together. 


Supporting Families

Nearly all J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI) businesses collected donations from employees to support the PALS Holiday Hampers program. PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) began in 2000 to help students living in poverty realize their full potential. This year, JDI employees as well as many other PALS and Community Partners supported over 250 families in need.  J. D. Irving, Limited supported close to 150 families through the PALS program. In addition, 123 turkeys were donated to families to ensure they had a Christmas dinner.  

 SAW - Pals Hamper


Supporting the PALS Program during the holidays is a long-standing tradition for Atlantic Towing. Normally the company participates in the PALS Holiday Hampers initiative by filling boxes for local families in need. This year, they collected donations instead. Melanie Train has been coordinating Atlantic Towing's involvement with PALS for years and led the fundraising effort this year. They ended up raising over $1,000 - enough to support 5 families. 

For NBM Railways, this year's PALS Holiday Hamper shopping efforts exceeded expectations, filling several carts and even more hampers for families in need! 

 NBM Shopping Cart


Our Finance team wanted to make sure local families had a warm and happy Christmas as well, despite not be able to volunteer in their traditional ways.  Finance employees donated, purchased and wrapped gifts for 8 families with 26 children  at PALS schools this holiday season.

 Holiday Finance 1
 Holiday Finance 2


Irving Equipment is also making Christmas brighter for 4 families with a total of 17 children. 

A total of 65 families were also support by our Pulp and Paper division, with many of their PALS Hampers going to Seaside Park Elementary School and Glen Falls Elementary School. The Woodlands Division at head office also supported three families this Christmas.

 Holiday PPD 1
 Holiday PPD 2
 Holiday PPD 3


Coats For Kids

The Coats for Kids initiative began with New Brunswick’s Minister Arlene Dunn. Carol Kelly, led the project. Anglophone School District South, PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) and BCAPI (Business Community Anti-Poverty Initiative) joined in to help.

The original goal was to provide new coats for 100+ children in Minister Dunn’s Saint John riding. However, 23 generous donors quickly responded and raised $35,000.00 and also provided services in-kind. These resources enabled 17 Saint John schools to help their students who were in need.

Coats for Kids 2020

This week, the schools and students received the new snowsuits (Grades K-5) and new jackets (Grades 6-12), along with hats, and mitts or gloves, as well as some warm hijabs! The items are high quality, yet affordable thanks to added help from the suppliers. The coats came from Montreal. Midland Transport donated their services to pick up the order and also make all the deliveries to the schools. Six Saint John suppliers provided hats, mitts and hijabs.

Today 355 Saint John children know that our community truly cares about their wellbeing. 


Empty Stocking Fund Telethon

The challenges of Covid-19 didn’t stop the telethon from going on in support of the Saint John Empty Stocking Fund. For the first time, the telethon was held at the Imperial Theatre and as patrons, the Empty Stocking Fund had to follow their very strict Covid-19 plan. As the province moved Saint John into the Orange phase of COVID-19 recovery, a representative from the Department of Health called confirming the event met all safety protocols. Generous donors from across the province helped make this a record-breaking year. Woodlands Employee Gisele Vautour and her son, Reid, presented a $10,000 donation on behalf of J.D Irving, Limited. 

Empty Stocking Fund 2020

Irving Tissue employees also hosted a BBQ this summer in support of the Empty Stocking Fund. Together they donated $1,600!


'Fun'draising Fridays for Feed Nova Scotia 

The CSC team at Irving Shipbuilding has raised a grand total of $2,362.40 in support of Feed Nova Scotia. Since April 2020, team members have held ‘Fun’draising Fridays. The weekly event invites employees at the Bluenose Building to wear a fun shirt matching a weekly theme in exchange for a two dollar donation. 

 ISI Holiday Pic


The Friday themes have ranged from ‘Hawaiian Shirt Friday; ‘Around the World’; sports and band shirts to team members wearing their favourite Superhero shirts at the office in true Clark Kent style.

“We usually get anywhere from $30 to our highest take home at $128 in one day with all funds going to Feed Nova Scotia”, recalls Dana Dauphinee, who has helped organize the weekly themes.

‘Fun’draising Friday is a new addition to an annual CSC tradition. The team has held a Holiday Food Drive in support of Feed Nova Scotia since CSC was housed  in Bayer’s Lake. This year, their food donation totaled 20 boxes, complete with a cash donation of $102. 

Every two dollars raised provides enough food support for 3 meals, according to Karen Theriault, Director of Development and Communications at Feed Nova Scotia. With one in six Nova Scotians facing food insecurity, the donation from the CSC team will provide over 3500 much needed meals for those in need.


Gift of Giving

For a number of years the team at Sussex Sawmill and Woodlands Office have volunteered at the Sussex Sharing Club leading up to the holidays. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic situation, volunteering wasn't the best option this year. In lieu of donating their time, the team donated to the local group, to buy gifts and food to those in need. They also donated to the local Salvation Army in Sussex.

 Sussex Sharing Club 1
 Sussex Learning Centre 2


In the small community of Juniper (population 400) the team at Juniper Organics worked with the Juniper Community centre to fund and prepare meals seniors who live alone, with little or no family nearby. They’ve also donated turkeys locally to those in need.

The northern New Brunswick Woodlands team donated to Tobique's Christmas Club, a group established to coordinate fun activities for children during this hectic holiday season. 

In rural Chipman and Minto, our Sawmills teams could not volunteer in person but they gave back by making donations via the local Community Telethon to the Chipman Community Care  and the Community Resource Centre in Minto.


Christmas Dinners

Some of our businesses found creative ways to stay safe and give back to the community by giving to local food banks. CFM, Gulf Operators, and Irving Equipment held a family North Pole drive-through at the Irving Equipment warehouse. Families who visited donated non-perishable food items that were donated to the food bank! 

 Family Sponsoring
Family Sponsor Christmas Donation 


Between Nov 17 and December 18 Kent Homes challenged their departments to go pound for pound in raising money and food for the local food bank. The team’s initial weigh in was at 264 lbs, however the team felt with a little Christmas spirit they could do better. The result? 1350lbs of food donated! 

 KENT Homes Holiday 2020
 KENT Homes 2020 Holiday Pic



Traditionally, JDI makes a special Christmas delivery to Romero House to ensure everyone in our community has a warm meal at Christmas. This year was no different and 100 turkeys were donated. 




Believe in Wishes

While our favorite holiday tradition, the Believe In Wishes train rides couldn't take place this year, we fondly remember last year's fundraiser in partnership with the Children's Wish Foundation/Make-A-Wish Canada that raised over $95,000!

This year, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Canada, New Brunswick adapted to the pandemic by creating the Christmas Wish Box - containing all the goodies and activities children normally receive on the train ride. NBM Railways was proud to support the foundation in this by helping to coordinate the provision of boxes from Master Packaging and transport via Midland Transport Limited. 



Driving Kindness

#DrivingKindness continues to be one of RST Sunbury's most successful campaigns of 2020. In lieu of hosting normal in-person Driver Appreciation events, the RST Sunbury leadership team asked drivers to nominate the organizations, people and communities that stepped up to help drivers and others impacted by the pandemic. Recipients included Hospice House in Fredericton NB, Centre de Femmes, La Moission, in Quebec, and the Salvation Army in Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador. But things didn't stop there, the company continued to recognized drivers and staff for their continued efforts to drive kindness in their everyday interactions - from a driver who started working with animal rescue agencies, moving dozens of dogs across provincial borders when travel was restricted, to a staff member who help orientate a New Canadian employee, helping her get settled, driving her to and from work, and inviting her to share in her family's Thanksgiving dinner! It's become more than a campaign, #DrivingKindness is who we are.

 Driving Kindness 2020



Shopping Local

In keeping with its focus to maintain safe operations, Universal Truck and Trailer made the decision to cancel it's annual Holiday Luncheon. In lieu of these events (in Saint John and Dieppe, NB), the company created a 12 Days of Giving campaign which combined employee appreciation events, staff prizes and giveaways, with a focus on local vendors hit hard in 2020 by pandemic restrictions and shutdowns. From having local vendors like the Ice Cream Barn provide hot chocolate, to running food and toy drives, to drawing for gift baskets and other locally sourced wares, it's been a very busy season!

 UTT Toy Drive 2020



Company-wide, the initiative to shop local this holiday season grew and grew. Gift cards for local businesses in communities across the region have replaced many traditional holiday get togethers.  For our pulp and paper mills, this meant over 1800 gift cards to Saint John’s historic City Market – the oldest in Canada!




From all of us to all of you enjoy a wonderful holiday with your families and friends!