Stamping out poverty
When you think of Oxfam you might have our humanitarian projects in mind, working in some of the most difficult conditions in the world, with expert technical staff working with communities to provide food aid, water and sanitation in the face of natural disaster and conflict. Or you might think of our advocacy work, speaking truth to power with our clear analysis of unfair economic systems and our bold solutions to ending poverty and inequality around the world.
One thing you might not know, however, is that for forty years, Oxfam Canada has been very lucky to have a team of volunteers working diligently to raise money for our work through our Stamp Out Poverty Program. Yes, that’s right: stamps, postage stamps.
Bill Woodley has been leading Oxfam Canada’s stamp team for decades. Along with ten other volunteers, the team sorts and sells stamps – painstakingly peeling stamps off envelopes and preparing them for sale to collectors. The team depends entirely on donations, primarily of modern stamps from companies, organizations and individuals. They also receive donations of older stamps from estates or collector duplicates.
Every year, year in and year out, the volunteers on the stamp team have raised roughly $30,000. And they recently achieved a long held goal when they passed the $500,000 mark in their cumulative fundraising efforts. As Bill says, “$30,000 or even $500,000 might seem like a drop in the bucket compared to the scale of the problems of poverty, disease and injustice around the world. We believe, though, that every little step in the right direction can help.”
This year, with COVID-19 continuing to wreak havoc in every corner of the planet, all funds raised by the Stamp Out Poverty Program will go towards work dealing with the impacts of the pandemic.
Our work is humbling in many ways. We see the strength and resilience of people living in the most difficult circumstances, persevering and working hard for their families and their communities. And we are also humbled by the generosity and devotion of our many supporters, volunteers, donors and allies. Without all of them, without all of you – our work truly would not be possible.
This year, on International Volunteer Day, all of us at Oxfam Canada are so grateful for the work of the Stamp Out Poverty Program, and for all who volunteer selflessly to make the world a better place.