“We wanted to celebrate the commitment and success of two West Island non-profit agencies that are always there to lend a helping hand in a time of need,” said Chirfi Guindo. “This is all about being a good neighbour.”
The President and Managing Director of Merck Canada Inc. was talking to a number of dignitaries including municipal councilors, MPS, MNAs, ministers and many representatives from NOVA and WICS during a recent Friday evening presentation from Merck honouring the two organizations with the pharmaceutical company’s “Neighbour of Choice” program that saw both non-profit agencies receive $50,000 each for their worthy causes held at the Pointe Claire Holiday Inn.
Guindo informed the assembled, that was also made up of 14 of the 40 groups West Island Community Shares (WICS) contribute to yearly, that the “Neighbour of Choice” program was “established in the 1990s to build relationships with neighbours in our community and these two organizations give their heart and soul to help others.
“Over the years, NOVA and WICS have helped thousands of West Island residents and we are proud to offer them $50,000 each for being true neighbours of choice,” Guindo said.
“Our mission is for all West Islanders can find help when they need it,” said WICS Executive Director Caroline Tison.
Tison cited Merck as “ a vital financial partner since last year, 50,000 residents used services from the 40 groups we support and half of those residents were our youth.”
Tom Thompson, President of NOVA’s Board of Directors, said that the $50,000 from Merck will be used “for our volunteer drivers program that assures people with cancer can get rides to and from their appointments that are often in the city.”
Thompson noted that when the program began five years ago, “we did 234 rides. Last year, we offered 2,234 rides.”
NOVA also offers “support groups for families and patients dealing with cancer as well as grief counseling,” said Thompson.
“The impulse of community spirit is very strong here in the West Island,” Lac St. Louis MP and Liberal Caucus Chair Francis Scarpaleggia said. “In the West Island, there is a list of community groups for any kind of need a family could have.
“There are also many companies here that have employees who take part in their local community and Merck is a sterling example of that,” said Scarpaleggia.
“These generous grants will go a long way and will have a direct impact for thousands of West Island residents,” said Martin Coiteux, Member for Nelligan and Minister responsible for Government Administration and Ongoing Program Review, Chair of the Conseil du trésor.
When Jacques Cartier MNA and Minister responsible for Native Affairs Geoffrey Kelley spoke about NOVA, he did so from personal experience. Kelley talked about the compassionate nurses who helped his father when he was ill.
“As a citizen I can testify that NOVA does a great job,” said Kelley. “NOVA nurses were available to use 24 hours a day, seven days week and will offer advice or come over and help.”