CBC Montreal and West Island Community Shares team up for a 3rd season of giving

CBC Montreal and West Island Community Shares are partnering up for another season of giving, and it's coming at a time when the need for services is growing in the West Island.

Charity says needs are growing in Montreal’s West Island

Isabelle Prosnick and Sophie McCann, both of West Island Community Shares, say West Island homelessness is affecting a growing number of West Islanders. (Isaac Olson/CBC)

CBC Montreal is teaming up with West Island Community Shares for another season of fundraising to help people in the West Island. 

This marks the third year that CBC is supporting the charity for its annual "Light Up Our Community" holiday fundraiser, which runs from Nov. 26 until Dec. 10.

"The partnership for us with CBC is really good because it helps increase our awareness," said Sophie McCann, director of WICS.

This year, CBC Montreal will be running two weeks of programming highlighting WICS and the charities it supports.

WICS is an umbrella organization which supports 40 charities in Montreal's West Island specializing in a range of services, including child and family services, food banks, mental health services, volunteer organizations and more.

More demand in the West Island

Over the past few years, there's been an overall increase in demand for services in the West Island, according to McCann.

"Year after year we are noticing, through the impact reports that the groups send to us, the needs are growing."

Homelessness is also a challenge that is affecting a growing number of West Islanders.

"Homelessness in the West Island for me is a big revelation", said Isabelle Prosnick, the lead fundraiser at WICS.

Prosnick said homelessness isn't often associated with the West Island. In fact, many people imagine it's a problem mainly in downtown Montreal.

"This is not something we talk openly about in the West Island, but it's definitely there," she said, adding that homelessness is better masked in the West Island.

Prosnick said some people who are forced to leave their homes often find places to stay by couch surfing or staying at a friend's house instead of relying on a shelter.

WICS has also seen an increase in demand for food banks by new immigrants living in the West Island.

People in the community are also calling for more youth services, such as support for teens suffering from eating disorders or help for substance users. 

McCann said the charities based in the West Island are critical because it means people don't have to travel downtown for help.

CBC's Shari Okeke and WICS' Anne Lajoie at the fundraising campaign in 2017.

Goal is to raise $1.3 M

Around the holiday season there is a high demand from different charities, and WICS wants to stand out.

"For us the challenge is to make sure people think of us when they donate,"said McCann.

Last year, WICS raised about $1.3 million, and they're aiming to raise the same amount over the course of 2019.

There are several events happening around the West Island for the "Light Up Our Community" fundraiser including:

  • A tree decorating contest on Nov. 30.
  • A trivia night with CBC personalities on Dec.5.

CBC Montreal will also be hosting its annual Christmas Sing-In on Dec. 9. It will take place at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul and Bourgie Hall. CBC will also be live streaming the concert online.

CBC Montreal will be decorating its tree at Plaza Pointe-Claire on Friday Nov. 30 from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. (Elise Jacob/CBC)

You can check out more details here


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