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Local Montreal charities in desperate need of help during pandemic

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It’s no secret many charities and non-profit organizations are suffering during the coronavirus pandemic, as their fundraising efforts have been cut short.

In Montreal, that means local non-profits have had to get creative.

The medical staff on the front lines of Lakeshore General Hospital — a COVID-19-designated facility — are in constant need of personal protective equipment (PPE).

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But with a recent drop in fundraising activities, the hospital foundation’s board of directors decided to help by personally matching donations up to $20,000 until May 1.

“We have 13 members on our board of directors and all 13 have stepped up to make a donation. So we have a $20,000 budget that will be matched,” said Heather Holmes, the managing director of the Lakeshore General Hospital foundation.

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“It’s out of their own pocket. It’s unbelievable generosity.”

All the donations will be used to help the administration purchase PPE and take all the necessary measures to fight the coronvirus.

The foundation’s co-chair, Dr. Fiore Lalla, says it’s the first time they’ve had to essentially beg for help.

“We decided that to preserve the biggest amount of lives, we would be very rapidly fast-tracking what the administration asks us [for], particularly in terms of life-saving PPE,” said Dr. Lalla.

“There are other technologies that the hospital is asking for that we’re supplying right away, that isolate patients and keeps staff save.”

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Chez Doris, a daytime shelter for women, is another foundation in desperate need of help.

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The centre normally serves 100 women a day but now has reduced capacity.

“We can only limit 40 women a day in our day shelter and we’re limiting it to homeless women,” said Marina Boulos, the shelter’s executive director.

“For homeless women, it’s the continual need for clothes, taking showers, having food, having a place to rest.”

READ MORE: Feds announce $350M fund for charities hurt by COVID-19 pandemic

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a multi-million-dollar emergency fund to support community groups helping the most vulnerable.

“To support charities and nonprofits in their important work, our government is setting up the $350-million emergency community support fund,” Trudeau announced.

Marina Boulos-Winton was thrilled to hear the federal government will be giving $350 million in relief, but she has no idea yet if and how it will help.

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The biggest need for her clients right now are evening meals.

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Boulos-Winton says she would extend the centre’s opening hours past 3 p.m. if she had the funds.

“There’s not very many places where people can eat dinner. There is a mobile canteen now, but it’s very limited and really not concentrating on the West End very much,” Boulos said.

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