At any given moment, one of the 40 community groups supported financially by West Island Community Shares (WICS) is providing essential services to West Island residents. In fact, this year alone, 65,000 West Islanders will benefit from services offered by members of this community network.
Meet Sophie McCann, Community Shares’ interim Executive Director and proud West Islander. After years of supporting Community Shares from the outside, McCann joined the team in September.
“This is very exciting for me. I’ve supported this organisation with marketing & communications activities for years. I thought I understood the need of our residents, but now I realize I didn’t get the full picture. For example, of those 65,000 benefiting from services of one of our 40 groups, 63 per cent are under the age of 25 years old,” she says.
Food insecurity is a significant problem in the West Island. In fact, more and more residents turn to one of three food banks supported by Community Shares: West Island Mission, West Island Assistance Fund and On Rock. Although they each offer slightly different services, there is an alarming common trend among all three: 40 per cent of food bank recipients are children.
Community Shares recently launched its annual fundraising campaign, aiming to raise $1.3 million to help 40 community groups that operate in the West Island. They chose to kick start this initiative with a breakfast in honour of all the partners and volunteers whose support helps the organizations to do their important work.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. With this event, we wanted volunteers, community leaders, and business leaders to gather around food and dream big dreams for our neighborhood and communities,” says McCann.
TELUS is among those partners. Jacques Garceau, Senior Vice-President, Network Engineering, TELUS, will act as chair for the Community Shares’ annual fundraising campaign. Several team members from TELUS will also get involved with Community Shares throughout the year. In addition, TELUS will donate the proceeds from its annual golf tournament to WCS. $127,000 was raised and will contribute to kick starting WCS’ annual fundraising.
“At TELUS, playing our part to help communities grow goes beyond supporting them financially. Of course that’s important, but it’s one piece of the puzzle piece of the puzzle,” says Marine Groulx, Senior Community Investment Manager for TELUS in the Greater Montreal and Surrounding areas, of the company’s promise to “give where we live.”
“Contributing in our own way to the community network that helps the West Island thrive, or other community where we work and live is a shared passion of many TELUS team members,” says Groulx.