CSS' Dr. Troy Davies handing out watter bottles to newcomers at Edmonton International Airport. Photo from Catholic Social Services

CSS initiative ‘Giving Hope’ to community

  • April 7, 2024

On March 26, Catholic Social Services (CSS) in Edmonton launched its inaugural “Giving Hope Tuesday,” a special philanthropy occasion to encourage monetary gifts toward specific projects, programs and initiatives.

This idea is inspired by the Giving Tuesday tradition, hosted the first Tuesday following Black Friday as a national day of bequeathing monetary donations to non-profits and causes in need.

Dr. Troy Davies, the CEO of CSS Edmonton, said it was natural to launch an effort in the Spring, specifically during Lent, as Catholics are encouraged to practice almsgiving before Easter.

To help, the T.R. (Terry) Mahon Foundation pledged to match each donation dollar-for-dollar up to $125,000. Mahon, a devoted CSS donor for over a decade, has also given to the Edmonton Epilepsy Association and sponsored fundraising events for the St. Joseph Seminary and Newman Theological College.

Davies said he and his team “are truly and deeply grateful to Terry and the T.R. (Terry) Mahon Foundation for this wonderful gift-matching opportunity. This generous double-your-donation offer will amplify the contributions made to our very first Giving Hope Tuesday and provide CSS the ability to build stronger communities and help those in need.”

Kim Adonyi, communications and events manager at CSS, said the campaign will be kept live until the end of April to give people on holiday for spring break or Easter an opportunity to become aware of the fundraiser and donate. By March 27, more than $15,000 had been amassed.

Specifically, the Giving Hope Tuesday campaign encourages donations towards CSS’s efforts to tackle food insecurity, its services for refugees and newcomers and items for the Care-A-Van, a new mobile service supplying essential supplies to unhoused individuals in Edmonton.

Davies said it was natural to highlight food security as food prices rapidly increase across the country. This affects populations served by CSS, such as “seniors, refugees and newcomers and the women we support who have experienced domestic violence.”

Gifts designated to help CSS tackle food security primarily help the charity purchase grocery cards distributed to people in need. In cases where a client is too infirm or cannot commute to a store for another reason, staff and volunteers have gone on grocery runs.

Encouraging help for refugees and newcomers also made sense for this campaign, said Davies, because “they experience many unique needs and challenges” as they seek to adjust to living in Canada. CSS helps immigrants settle by arming them with informational resources about health care, housing and schools for their children. Its Language Assessment, Referral and Counselling Centre (LARCC) offers referrals to English classes and counselling for individuals seeking educational opportunities. The charity also provides information sessions about career and employment services and even short-term employment training programs.

Davies said the idea of a Care-A-Van, which was unveiled in January, was spawned by asking a simple question.

“So many of the supports and services for unhoused individuals and families in Edmonton are concentrated in the inner city,” said Davies. “We asked, ‘what is there for people living in the outer regions?’ The Care-A-Van drives around to provide sandwiches, water bottles, hygiene items and clothing items like warm underwear.”

CSS supports over 20,000 people annually across Edmonton and other central Alberta communities.

Visit cssalberta.ca to learn more.

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