West Island Community Shares breaks fundraising record

By Rhonda Massad

West Island Community Shares (WICS) Caroline Tison executive director announced to a full house of more than 300 people at the Pauline Julien auditorium, April 16, that the charity’s 2013-2014 fundraising campaign raised an impressive $1.2 million, 8.5 per cent more than last year.

According to Tison, the additional funds made it possible to add two more charities to the 36 charities that WICS already supports.

Two food banks were added to the roster this year: West Island Mission and On Rock Community. Since 2010, the number of requests for help to West Island food banks has increased by 22 per cent. Of them, 15 per cent are from residents who have never used a food bank before.

“We at WICS are dedicated to helping build a strong stable community that can respond to the needs of its citizens,” Tison said. “This requires a commitment for all concerned.”

Tison told the crowd that by the time someone picks up the phone to ask for help, they might have waited up to eight months before doing so. Once they find themselves at the point of no return, they call for help often only to be told that the waiting list means that it will be another six months before help arrives. This year’s increased donations will help diminish the sense of despair that people feel when they make that call.

“One West Island resident on five reaches out for help to a community organization each year,” Tison said. “We know from working with our community groups that more dollars directly translates to more hours of intervention.”

The 27-member fund distribution committee at WICS ensures that it aligns its fund allocation with the community’s needs and priorities. WICS has distributed $9.7 million since its inception in 1998.

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