Arthur Peters, ShareLife executive director. Register file photo.

ShareLife looking for push in final weeks

  • July 10, 2014

TORONTO - With less than a month left in the 2014 ShareLife parish campaign, the charitable fundraising arm of the Archdiocese of Toronto is still more than a million dollars shy of its $12.65-million goal.

“As we come to these last few weeks I invite all parishioners to join with us in making a contribu-tion to the ShareLife campaign to help us not only to reach our goal but more importantly to make a difference in the lives of those who need our help,” said Arthur Peters, ShareLife’s executive director. “We have about $1.3 million to go which is comparable to this same time frame as last year.”

Founded in 1976 under the guidance of Archbishop Philip Pocock, the ShareLife campaign is the Archdiocese of Toronto’s annual fund raising appeal to pa-rishioners. Money raised is used to fund more than 40 Catholic social service agencies. It is estimated that more than 96,000 people are helped annually by the money collected during the ShareLife campaign.

“What the Archdiocese of Toronto has, which is very unique in Canada, is an appeal that raises money to help social service agencies,” said Peters. “The people that are helped are not always visible. It could be your neighbour, it could be the person beside you in the pews, it could be one of your co-work-ers; you just don’t know who is turning to our agencies.

“(But) the Catholic community has always recognized the needs of ShareLife’s agencies and responded generously.”

To keep this trend going Peters said it is imperative to recruit new donors as the baby boomers who were once the backbone of the campaign are now entering their golden years and thus have less disposable income to donate.

“As a society we are aging and with that sometimes people who’ve been able to support the campaign in the past maybe are not able to do so any more as they turn their attention to their own needs,” he said. “So one of our challenges is to encourage the next generation and younger generations to support the campaign.”

To do that ShareLife relies on staff, volunteers and parish priests to spread the word about the work ShareLife dollars fund.

“(They’re) out there speaking on weekends, representing agencies and ShareLife and helping to inform parishioners of how their support has made a dif-ference to their particular agency and the agencies as a whole,” he said. “Those stories are important for people to hear.”

Michael McBridge, chair of the advisory board of ShareLife and a donor for 38 years, has volunteered countless hours speaking about ShareLife for that exact reason.

“It is sometimes easy to forget how many people are in desperate circumstances,” said McBridge, a Toronto-based lawyer. “If more people could spread the word about the good stories which result from ShareLife donations we could raise more money to help these agencies help those most in need. ShareLife funds are often used to fill in the gaps.”

For Peters knowing that his personal donations help to be “the hands of Christ for those in need” is all the encouragement he needs to make the financial sacrifice.

“For me it is a great feeling,” he said. “I’ll never meet the majority of people that we help, I’ll never meet all of them, but it is a good feeling for me to know that through the work that we do here in the office, through being sup-portive, that somewhere out there somebody has been helped. A contribution is more than money, it is the opportunity to make an impact.”

The last of the three ShareLife Sunday collections will be taken up in parishes throughout the archdiocese at Masses the weekend of July 26-27.

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