Coronavirus: Montreal boroughs donate more than $1M to Centraide emergency fund

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante announces financial contribution towards Centraide's emergency fund. Tuesday March 24, 2020. Global News

The City of Montreal has announced several of its boroughs have come together to donate a total of $1,140,000 to the Centraide emergency fund in order to help vulnerable people during the COVID-19 health crisis.

“Let’s send a very strong message that we are there to support our local organizations,” Montreal mayor Valérie Plante said.

Plante said she made the call to all mayors and most responded. The Ville-Marie borough is contributing $150,000 while Anjou, Plateau-Mont-Royal, Rosemont-La Petite Patrie and the Sud-Ouest among others contributed $100,000. Outremont also contributed $30,000.

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“Thank you to mayors and all elected officials who voted in favour of this emergency fund,” Plante said.

The funds will help Centraide distribute money to its partner organizations to allow them to provide basic needs to Montrealers.

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“The number one priority of the emergency fund is to ensure food security of families, children, seniors and all vulnerable people, whether they have limitations or are newcomers to our territory and give them the support they need to get through this crisis,” said the executive director of Centraide, Lili-Anna Pereša.

“Thanks to the money raised through the emergency fund we will be able to help front-line agencies, not only those who are usually funded by Centraide.”

Centraide works to fight poverty and social exclusion in Greater Montreal, supporting 350 agencies that help those in need around the Montreal, Laval and South Shore areas.

Pereša said that the number of calls the organization is receiving has tripled amidst the crisis.

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According to Pereša, Centraide has received about 2,000 calls only in the past week and 20,000 people went on their website looking for help.

Thirty per cent of the calls received were food safety-related and about a third of callers were seniors.

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Pereša estimates the organization will need $30 million per month in order to respond to Montrealers’ needs.

She is asking non-profits to send information about whether they are open or closed to their local volunteer centres and to call 211.

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Centraide has also set up a mechanism to accelerate the allocation of funds received through the emergency fund. The process has been streamlined so organizations can access help within 48 hours.

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Since the launch of the fund, private and public companies such as the Bank of Montreal, Hydro-Quebec, and Sunlife have also responded to Centraide’s call for help.

Pereša is asking for the public’s generosity and to donate on their website Centraide/ or by texting 80-100 and typing the word COVID.

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