West Island Community Shares gets massive donation commitment as campaign launches

Click to play video 'West Island Community Shares kicks off annual fundraising campaign' West Island Community Shares kicks off annual fundraising campaign
West Island Community Shares has launched its annual fundraising campaign. Global's Dan Spector reports.

Members of the West Island Community descended on 3 Brasseurs in Pointe-Claire Friday morning to join West Island Community Shares in the launch of its 2019-2020 campaign.

“We need to raise $1.3 million to help West Islanders in need,” said Sophie McCann, executive director for West Island Community Shares, adding that number includes roughly 65,000 people.

“There is a bigger and bigger difference between the very wealthy and the very poor, so we’re trying to bridge the gap.”

West Island Community Shares funds 41 community organizations in the area, and their annual community breakfast event is a huge key to bringing in that money.

READ MORE: West Island community group calls for more affordable housing for seniors

Denise Hupé, who runs Volunteer Accompaniment Service (ABO VAS), said her organization would not be able to accompany seniors to doctor appointments without the help they get from West Island Community Shares.

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“This isolated population is growing daily and they would no go to their medical appointments. They would just stay home rather than go, because of anxiousness or because of the lack of transport,” Hupé said.

READ MORE: West Island Community Shares raises record-breaking $1.3 million

The community breakfast attracts citizens, community groups and many politicians eager to show support.

“I’m so happy to be a part of it because it’s really the nucleus of the West Island you see here,” said Pierrefonds-Roxboro Mayor Jim Beis.

“It’s impressive, the number of organizations it helps, but it’s amazing how many businesses support the community,” added Pointe-Claire Mayor John Belvedere.

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West Island Community Shares relies heavily on support from big corporations. This year, National Bank made a big commitment.

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“We decided with the bank to give $500,000 to the community and the West Island Community over the next five years. We’re very proud of it,” said Yannick Pelletier, regional vice-president of Commercial Banking at National Bank.

While some gave big checks, others like Hupé volunteered their time by selling raffle tickets at the event.