Community members of the The Centre D’acceuil Heritage receive support from ShareLife. The centre provides companionship and assistance to the French-speaking elderly in Toronto. Courtesy of ShareLife

ShareLife campaign hits record to support more than 40 agencies in need

  • September 12, 2018

For the first time in ShareLife’s history, Catholic parishioners have crossed the $13-million threshold when it comes to helping those most in need.

ShareLife’s 2018 parish campaign raised almost $13.37 million this year, accounting for 88 per cent of the $15,235,000 raised to support the more than 40 agencies that help look after so many in need in the Greater Toronto Area. 

That number is up by more than five per cent from the previous year’s campaign.

“The generosity of the Catholic community is incredible,” said Arthur Peters, executive director of ShareLife, the charitable fundraising arm of the Archdiocese of Toronto originally formed in 1976.

Peters said despite the weekly collections in their own parishes and the myriad of special collections throughout the year, parishioners continue to respond to the call to help others. “With all of that, they’re still supporting ShareLife at record levels,” he said.

Kris Dmytrenko, ShareLife’s communications manager, is heartened to see so many Catholics, not just a few, step up to the plate. 

“One thing that’s unique about ShareLife is that it’s a cause that is spread very broadly, it’s not just supported by a number of wealthy individuals,” said Dmytrenko.

He points to St. Timothy’s Parish in North York. It is a parish heavily populated by recent newcomers to Canada, many who are struggling to get by. Yet over the past two years parishioners have increase their support for ShareLife by more than 50 per cent. Of the 225 parishes in the archdiocese, 88 exceeded their suggested goal, and 131 parishes surpassed the figures they raised last year.

“Because this is an annual campaign you always run the risk of donor fatigue and yet (ShareLife) is still resonating to the degree that parishes are continuing to go above and beyond,” said Dmytrenko.

The real heroes, he said, are those in the parish dedicated to making sure the campaign succeeds.

“It starts with the pastor and the pastor’s enthusiasm, but also having a core of committed volunteers.” 

Peters said the key is getting people to understand the mission. ShareLife lives by the creed “Living the Gospel by providing for those in need,” and “that’s what our agencies are doing.”

Each year brings it own set of challenges and Peters and his team are already preparing for 2019. Three agencies in Peel Region will be relying on another $460,000 next year as ShareLife takes over funding that was previously provided by the United Way. 

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