Solidarity fund launched to aid West Island charities hurt by COVID-19

Click to play video: 'Helping charities stay afloat amidst the coronavirus outbreak'
Helping charities stay afloat amidst the coronavirus outbreak
The period of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak has made fundraising quite difficult for many community organizations, but West Island Community Shares is trying to change that with a new ’solidarity fund'. Executive Director Sophie McCann joins Global’s Laura Casella – Mar 16, 2020

With children home from school and their parents practicing social-distancing measures, many charities and community organizations in Quebec are starting to feel the pinch from the new coronavirus outbreak.

Sophie McCann, the executive director of West Island Community Shares, told Global News Morning that “community organizations are being dealt two blows.”

“First is their ability to provide services: just like any other employer…but because of the kind of services they provide, they can’t just shut down,” she said.

“The second blow is on the fundraising aspect of it. Spring, for us and for most charities, is a really busy time for fundraising activities,” she said. “So we are faced with: how can we fun-raise without having 5-à-7s, balls, or any other gatherings whatsoever?”

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McCann added that other organizations have been changing the way they provide services to the community.

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Many Montreal food banks and homeless shelters have suspended non-emergency services to comply with new orders to prevent large numbers of people from congregating in one place.

“[Other organizations] can no longer do group-support sessions,” said McCann. “So they can do one-on-one therapy, but no group support.”

Those concerns have prompted West Island Community Shares to launch a “solidarity fund.”

“We’re turning to West Islanders to ask [them] to help us maintain these services in the West Island,” she said.

The aim of the fund is to help these charities “just get over the hump, so that they can keep going after,” according to McCann.

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McCann is urging many who have been focusing on stockpiling at groceries stores to take a moment to think about others.

“Just remember that some families don’t have the financial means to hoard anything,” she said.

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