In order to respond to the urgent needs of community organizations in the region, Sherbrooke MNA Christine Labrie is distributing $50,000 from her discretionary fund this week. This amount will be shared among 27 organizations that have adapted their services to meet the needs of people in vulnerable situations and is in addition to the $10,000 she gave to Moisson Estrie last March to provide emergency food aid.
“I asked the organizations to tell me what they needed to respond to the emerging needs of citizens related to COVID-19. It allowed me to take the pulse of what they need to do to adapt. The organizations’ requests are aimed at meeting basic needs, providing meals, providing materials for families with a child with special needs, offering telephone or virtual support to citizens,” the MNA explained in a press release.
Following the call for projects, Labrie received requests totalling more than $125,000. Several requests were for computer equipment that would allow organizations to offer their services remotely, or to meet the needs of the people they house. “Some were not equipped at all for telework or to reach the people they serve. They lack computers and telephones, and this is partly the result of chronic underfunding of organizations,” Labrie said. “Fortunately, the investments in equipment made in the next few days are going to be very useful even after the crisis.”
Labrie added that she is concerned the additional envelope of discretionary funds provided to support organizations will not fully meet their needs. Demand and expenditures are increasing, while at the same time fundraising activities are falling apart because of distancing measures, the MNA pointed out.
“The government is going to have to fill the funding gap, because otherwise some resources may have to cut services or even close. We’re seeing this everywhere in Quebec, and it’s worrisome,” Labrie concluded.