Heartland Challenge - United Way Alberta Capital Region

Heartland Challenge

Alberta’s Heartland area is full of companies looking to do local good by partnering with United Way of the Alberta Capital Region. The Heartland Challenge brings these organizations together to work on initiatives that help our local community thrive.

Volunteer smiles while doing lawn maintenance.

2024 Agency Partner: Strathcona Food Bank

We are delighted to be teaming up with the Strathcona Food Bank for the 2024 United Way Heartland Challenge!

A pillar of our community for nearly 40 years, the Strathcona Food Bank works relentlessly to ensure everyone has access to healthy food. Run entirely by dedicated volunteers, the Strathcona Food Bank’s efforts in 2023 saw over 200 volunteers serving more than 17,000 individuals with over 5,566 food hampers provided. Their unwavering commitment is truly inspiring, and we are looking forward to the year ahead where we can make an even greater impact together.

In 2024, we are excited to collaborate on several key initiatives to support and enhance their operations. Planned projects include:

  • A renovation of the front entrance with new furniture, flooring, dividers, and cubicle space, as well as a new volunteer break room.
  • The creation of a confidential office space, designed to provide a calming and supportive environment.
  • The planning and coordination of the Food Bank’s 40th anniversary celebration.

These projects aim to enhance the Strathcona Food Bank’s operational efficiency, upgrade their facility, boost volunteer recognition and support, raise community awareness and involvement, and expand their capacity to serve the community — all to ultimately increase long-term sustainability and food security.

Together, we can make a meaningful impact and support those who need it most.


By unlocking collaborative solutions to meet Edmonton’s greatest needs, United Way of the Alberta Capital region is creating opportunities to make a bigger impact. Through the Heartland Challenge, participating companies challenge each other to provide their employees with a greater connection to the community.

PPE Drives

The Heartland Challenge holds personal protective equipment drives to collect work gear to help those who need it. These essential health and safety items can be expensive, creating a barrier to those who need the equipment to find work, but can’t afford the upfront cost. Since 2019, more than 440 people have benefited from donations of work boots, coveralls, insulated workwear, protective eyewear, hard hats, and work gloves.


United Way Heartland Challenge’s dedicated volunteers undertook and completed projects for the Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank. With the help and hard work of over 50 passionate volunteers from 13 organizations, efforts included:

  • Building garden beds
  • Installing rainwater collection systems
  • Constructing a greenhouse, enhancing sustainability by enabling the Food Bank to grow their own produce
  • Utilizing networks to source materials locally, often at discounted prices
  • Championed volunteers by:
    • Creating a breakroom for volunteers
    • Sourcing aprons for volunteers’ shifts
    • Collaborating with a local artist to create a mural
    • Hosting a volunteer appreciation event


United Way Heartland Challenge volunteers completed projects for A Safe Place, an emergency shelter for women and children in our community. The work of 56 volunteers included:

  • Disassembly of 30 old beds
  • Assembly of 11 new bunkbeds and 18 new daybeds
  • Taping, mudding, and sanding walls
  • Painting walls and pipes
  • Painting 12 fire doors and frames
  • Rejuvenating the shelter crisis room with new paint and wall installations
  • Replacing crisis room door
  • Cleaning the outdoor living space and disposal of 2 giant bins of garbage
  • Helping staff with cleaning windows, floors, and general agency needs
  • Painting communal spaces like entranceway and intake areas
  • Renovating and redesigning intake room with the help of IKEA Edmonton
  • Addition of artwork and mural


Heartland Challenge Committee partnered with BGC Fort Saskatchewan, a non-profit organization that works with children, youth, and families. Volunteer efforts included:

  • Building nutritious, fresh food packages for families
  • Washing windows, mowing, and weeding outdoor spaces, and building new planters and garden beds
  • Repairing and replacing atrium lighting with new LED lighting for energy efficiency, maintenance, and cost savings
  • Repainting 39 doors in the facility creating a new computer lab with 10 workstations for the club to promote creativity and innovation


Heartland Challenge Committee partnered with Next Step School, a supportive, alternative junior and senior high school for students who require a non-traditional, individualized program. Volunteers from companies across the community worked together to show students that their community cares about them by:

  • Delivering 80 care packages
  • Donating 10 Chromebooks
  • Providing 100 gowns for graduation ceremonies

Committee Members

The Heartland Challenge initiative is made possible through the dedication of volunteers, community partners, school districts, and funders – collectively committed to ensuring individuals and families in the Capital Region can thrive.

Co-Chair Leah Shaw, Sherritt

Co-Chair Alana Seymour, DOW

Alyssa Carson, Sherritt

Alyssa Pratt, Inter Pipeline

Blaine Shaw, Pembina

Gary Gall, Nutrien

Mario Kulas, Shell Scotford

Megan Bates, Willow Ridge Construction

Ray Leckie, MEGlobal

Tina Thomas, DOW

Trevor Brault, Spartan Controls

Welby Thumwood, TransAlta

Supporting Companies

SCRs Nick Boquiren & Colleen Highet help renovate the Fort Saskatchewan Boys and Girls Club.


Contact us to learn how your organization can get involved with the Heartland Challenge by emailing [email protected].

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