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NEWS RELEASE - Seniors are in crisis, but they are not alone

Seniors are in crisis, but they are not alone

Sign of Hope raises $2.4 million to support vulnerable Albertans
CEO says, “The needs are overwhelming.”

Edmonton (January 28, 2020) – Catholic Social Services (CSS) today announced its 2020 annual Sign of Hope fundraising campaign raised more than $2.4 million for programs and services supporting vulnerable Albertans. 

“These are tough times for so many in Alberta due to the pandemic and the economy,” says CEO, Dr. Troy Davies. “But Alberta’s most vulnerable people are in desperate circumstances.  We are so grateful that those who can afford to give did so with such generosity.”

Catholic Social Services is the largest charitable provider of social services to vulnerable people in Alberta, serving more than 21,000 people annually. Donations to the CSS Sign of Hope campaign funds many programs which rely completely on donor support to meet the demand in the community.  

One such program is the Elder Abuse Resources and Support program (EARS) which focuses on outreach to isolated seniors. Since COVID-19 began there has been a dramatic rise in demand for services.

“Since April, we received nearly 800 calls from seniors experiencing abuse, isolation or neglect, or struggling to pay bills, access food, or buy basic necessities,” says Dr. Davies. “The crisis of elder abuse and domestic abuse are the silent pandemics occurring in parallel to COVID-19.”

“At the beginning of the pandemic we mostly saw calls related to senior abuse, but EARS encompasses a variety of services to support seniors and the kind of cases we are seeing now are more complex than ever before,” says Gurjot Kaur, Team Lead for the EARS program. “We are seeing seniors who are experiencing abuse and isolation, and are also without food or medications, and have no way to access these things, other than through our program.”

The pandemic has amplified the need for EARS and many other CSS programs because of the additional stresses on families and individuals.

Counselling, family support services, and resources and homes for women and children facing domestic abuse have all seen a surge in demand. In many cases, clients require support from more than one CSS program or service. 

The $2.4 million raised will help CSS respond to this increased demand, but it is not enough to meet all the needs present.

“The needs are overwhelming. Our remarkable staff are working tirelessly to meet them. Although we are happy with this total we know that it is just the beginning. We have done a lot, but we have so much more to do,” says Dr. Davies.

“I am so grateful to everyone who donated and who continues to donate. Albertans consistently prove themselves to be among the most generous donors in Canada. For vulnerable people and families this solidarity is simply life-changing.”

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Background:

The Sign of Hope campaign funds multiple Catholic Social Services’ programs each year including shelters and supported housing for vulnerable women and children, subsidized counselling services, supports for seniors experiencing abuse, supports for new immigrants and refugees, and supports for the recently housed. 

For nearly 60 years, CSS has been providing help to the most vulnerable. Today, CSS works in three priority areas, serving newcomers to Canada, serving individuals with disabilities, and serving individuals, children, and families. Each year, more than 21,000 Albertans in 12 communities across central Alberta, are uplifted and empowered through CSS.

 

For additional information, contact:

Laura Ruddock

Manager of Communications

Catholic Social Services

Laura.ruddock@cssalberta.ca | 780-224-1489

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