Donations to ShareLife help 42 social service agencies, like Catholic Family Services of Peel Dufferin, in their work. Photo courtesy ShareLife

‘Still a long way to go’ for ShareLife

  • June 29, 2023

The ShareLife parish campaign has raised $8.5 million as of June 21, which equates to roughly 62 per cent of its $13.8-million goal for the year.

ShareLife, the charitable fundraising arm for the Archdiocese of Toronto, supports 42 Catholic social service agencies with the funds raised through this parish drive and the corresponding corporate fundraiser.

Arthur Peters, ShareLife’s executive director and the archdiocese’s director of development, said “the response to date has been good, but there is still a long way to go.”

Peters said there’s been a good transition between the 2023 campaign and the previous decade-and-a-half now that Archbishop Francis Leo is supporting the ShareLife team with its efforts in place of Cardinal Thomas Collins.

“I met with the archbishop and gave him information about our campaign, and he is very interested in the work we do to help the needy in our community,” said Peters. “He understands the importance, and supports the importance, of the outreach the Church does, and we look forward to him being a strong ambassador for ShareLife just like Cardinal Collins, Cardinal (Aloysius) Ambrozic and Cardinal (Gerald) Carter was before him.”

For the second straight year, three parish collections took place in all 225 parishes before the end of June. In 2020 and 2021, the scheduling of ShareLife weekends was radically altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Complementing these collections is an active online campaign to generate support. The ShareLife team regularly sends out emails and generates social media posts to build support for the drive.

One standout element of the digital promotion effort is a video called Your Heart = Their Hope, a four-minute documentary of how monies raised via the campaign is making a substantial difference in supporting the work done at Journey Home Hospice, Toronto’s only hospice with a mission to provide quality end-of-life care for the city’s homeless people.

Journey Home Hospice is also collaborating with ShareLife to host a virtual speaker series event later this year. This session will educate attendees on the need to support palliative care, and participants will learn about a relatively new service called The HopeLine, an over-the-phone information resource tool, led by the Saint Elizabeth Foundation, which will help callers establish connections with nearby hospice palliative care options.  

Silent Voice Canada, a non-profit supporting deaf adults and children since 1975, hosted an online seminar with ShareLife earlier this year.

“We’re continuing to inform parishioners of the needs of the 42 agencies,” said Peters. “One issue that ShareLife is looking at is that of food, and there is a lot of people in society in need and are having trouble even buying food with prices the way it is (right now). Is that something that maybe ShareLife can help with? We are looking at that. We also look to remind people of the great work that ShareLife agencies do, and to encourage people who have never given before to consider doing so.”

In 2022, the ShareLife campaign raised a robust $13.7 million, ever-so-slightly shy of its $13.8- million target. In 2021, the appeal accrued a record $13.9 million despite facing formidable pandemic headwinds.

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