The weekend of Sunday, March 27 is the first ShareLife parish special collection of 2022. ShareLife is one of the principal ways that the Archdiocese of Toronto lives by the Gospel by helping our neighbours in need. Below, Arthur Peters, the director of ShareLife, shares some insights into the transformational work that ShareLife-funded agencies do every day.
1. The results from the 2021 ShareLife parish campaign are in. How did the campaign go last year and what does this mean for ShareLife-funded agencies?
Last year’s ShareLife campaign raised over $13.9 million. It was our largest campaign ever and we exceeded our $13.8 million goal for the first time. As a result of this successful campaign, and recognizing the needs of our agencies, we have allocated more funds to the work of our agencies for 2022.
2. Why do you think 2021 parish campaign was so successful?
During the pandemic, people became more aware of the needs in our greater society. Many either gave more than before, or contributed to ShareLife for the first time, recognizing that there were many that needed help. Our agencies pivoted to provide services in new and innovative ways as the number of people turning to them for help increased substantially.
Through the generosity of a parishioner in the Archdiocese of Toronto, we received two gifts totalling $1.0 million to match donations made to the ShareLife campaign. This act of generosity encouraged people to make an additional donation, to make a donation for the first time, or to increase their support for ShareLife. We are grateful to this parishioner for this incredible act of kindness, and to the many people that made a contribution to be matched.
3. Throughout the pandemic, we have been telling parishioners that the need for ShareLife has never been greater. People may be wondering if the need is still there now that COVID restrictions are being lifted. What would you say about that?
Although restrictions are starting to ease, there are many people who are still suffering from the impact of the pandemic. Many have lost their job and there are others who have watched their entire business disintegrate in front of them. Many are now trying to rebuild their lives. Although we may be slowly moving forward, the effect of the pandemic will be with us for some time, and ShareLife agencies are there to help.
4. You must hear so many amazing stories about the difference that ShareLife-funded agencies make in people’s lives. What is one of the most inspiring stories that you’ve heard lately?
There are many stories that demonstrate the work of our agencies, and a number of these can be found on our website. Recently, I learned of the story of a refugee who has come to Canada through the Office for Refugees, which is supported by our ShareLife campaign. His story is one of courage and perseverance. It is one of the most compelling stories that we have ever shared as a reason to support the work of ShareLife agencies. We’ll be sharing this story, and many others, throughout the campaign. The Office for Refugees is one of Canada’s largest private sponsorship programs. We are blessed to have an organization in the archdiocese that is helping to bring people, especially those who are persecuted for their faith, to flee these situations and be welcomed to Canada.
5. What are some of ways that people can donate to ShareLife so they can help their neighbours?
Contributions to ShareLife can be made through the local parish campaign on the collection weekends, or online at www.sharelife.org/donate. A mailing from Cardinal Collins has been sent to parishioners and these can be returned to our office or included in the offertory at the parish. Parishioners can also contribute through online banking. Please contact the ShareLife office for further information.