“Needs are always increasing”
By Kevin Woodhouse
For West Island Assistance Fund’s Executive Director Claudine Campeau, her biggest Christmas wish “is to lose my job because our services are no longer required.”
But Campeau’s retirement will have to wait another year since “the needs are always increasing” as well as a recent influx of residents not only new to the neighbourhood but to the country. Many who immigrate often arrive with very little and in need of help.
But the WIAF assists new families with food baskets, a well stocked thrift store as well as stylists and workplace experts who help prepare resumes and cover letters for job searches and interviews. According to Campeau, many new residents are doctors, pharmacists and other kinds of professionals whose credentials require some standardization prior to being included into the Quebec job market. Consequently, many new residents who do not speak French “end up trying to support their families on a retail job.”
This year, the West Island Assistance fund has prepared more than 700 Christmas baskets from clients who receive help throughout the year. They also provide matching services for families who want to donate and those in need.
Campeau said sponsors often want to help families with young children which invokes the spirit of giving although “there are many seniors and single parents as well who need help too.”
When asked if any holiday help was required, the executive director suggested people wanting to help “try to remember to help people out all year round because sometimes by August, there is nothing left and people need to eat all year round.
“It is so kind of people to help out at Christmas but if they gave a little less during the holidays and gave all year round, that would be a perfect solution,” Campeau told The Suburban.
West Island Assistance Fund is located at 9 Centre Commercial in Pierrefonds-Roxboro and can be reached at  683-0456 or online via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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