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CLEC earns $16,000 through Giving Tuesday, $12,000 through Jingle Bell Run


Libro Essex’s Commercial Account Manager, John Dufour (far left), and Wassim Sarhew, Community Manager (third from the left) hand over a Giving Tuesday corporate sponsor matching grant of $6,000 to Community Living Essex County’s Tony DeSantis, Manager of Community Relations and Resource Development (second from the left), and Executive Director Karen Bolger, client Cassie Armstrong, and Shelbey Pillon, CLEC’s Manager of Planning and Technology.

by Sylene Argent

Last week, staff and supporters of Community Living Essex County (CLEC) celebrated being the beneficiary of two great proceeds that totaled around $28,000.

  Last Tuesday afternoon, CLEC staff and supporters met with representatives of Essex’s Libro Credit Union, which stepped in as the corporate sponsor for the 2019 Giving Tuesday initiative.

  CLEC, which supports around 700 local individuals with intellectual disabilities, has been involved with the Giving Tuesday program since 2015, and has continually noticed an increase in financial support since its inaugural year.

  Tony DeSantis, Manager of Community Relations and Resource Development, explained that Giving Tuesday is a one-day annual campaign held in December, where not-for-profits provide an opportunity for the community to learn more about what they do. It is also a chance for people to provide donations to these organizations during the holiday season.


Staff and supporters of Community Living Essex County celebrated with staff members of Ken Knapp Ford last Wednesday for having raised $12,000 through the 2019 Jingle Bell Walk, Run, and Wheel.

  DeSantis said it can sometimes be a challenge to find corporate sponsors, but he was thrilled CLEC was able to rely on Libro Essex to match the Giving Tuesday proceeds.

  Wassim Sarweh, Community Manager at Essex Libro, said he was pleased to be able to team up with CLEC on the Giving Tuesday initiative. He announced that the Giving Tuesday campaign went so well, it maxed out the $6,000 donation Libro was able to give.

  In all, DeSantis said it is estimated the Giving Tuesday initiative raised around $16,000, including Libro’s matching grant. This total exceeded CLEC’s goal. The success was due to a variety of reasons, including that CLEC extends the one-day campaign to the entire month of December. It also received $1 from every pizza sold at Little Caesars in Essex, Kingsville, and Leamington, and the three local Valvoline Express Care facilities chipped in a total of $1000.

  “Partnerships are extremely important,” DeSantis said.

  CLEC will use these finds for smart support technology for some of its clients.

  Karen Bolger, the Executive Director for CLEC, said being able to provide some of CLEC’s clients with technology, allows CLEC to support more individuals with it resources.

  CLEC client, Cassie Armstrong, was the recipient of an iPad through this program and noted she not only gets to use it for entertainment purposes, but it has an app the reminds her to carry out chores, take medication, lets her know when she is scheduled to volunteer around the community, and when to have a snack.

Shelbey Pillon, CLEC’s Manager of Planning and Technology support, said the technology varies, depending on the need of the client, but they could include iPad or iPhones with support for monthly plans. These devises can be hooked up to medication dispensers.

  “The technology changes lives significantly,” Bolger added.

  Last Wednesday afternoon, CLEC’s staff and supporters headed down to Ken Knapp Ford to celebrate the proceeds of the annual Jingle Bell Walk, Run, and Wheel, which takes place in early November.

  It was announced the 2019 event had around 500 participants and raised $12,000 for CLEC.

  Ken Knapp Ford is a big sponsor of the annual event, due to the dedication of Bob Blair, who worked at the local car dealership as a salesman and was Chairperson of the event. He passed away around a year ago, and the 2019 event, which was also the 25th annual, was the first held in his memory.

  James Knapp, General Manager of Ken Knapp Ford, noted the event would not have made it to its 25th anniversary without Blair’s continuous dedication and efforts.

  The funds raised for CLEC through the Jingle Bell Run will go towards summer supports as there is a greater need during the time of year when youths are not in school.

  DeSantis said there are a lot of volunteers from Ken Knapp Ford, who contribute a lot of time and effort into the Jingle Bell Walk, Run, and Wheel.

  Bolger said CLEC is funded through the ministry of Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services, but the funding never meets the demand. This is why it is critical for CLEC to fundraise and create strong partnerships within the community.  

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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