Volunteers from a Montreal non-profit group are trying to raise funds to help support programs for students with special needs.
Friends 4 Cause, a nonprofit foundation that helps community organizations, is creating gift baskets for sale at its Montreal North store.
“Due to the pandemic, we were unable to do any gala, so we opened this little shop here in Fleury [Street]”, Explained Alfonso Coscia, vice president of the Friends 4 Cause Foundation.
All proceeds from its products and holiday basket sales go to support programs for students with autism at two locations: the Galileo Adult Education Center in Montreal-North and Light A Dream, a non-profit charity in Pointe-Claire.
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“We offer our young adults vocational training and skill development in a real work environment,” said Andrea Bertalan, president of Light A Dream.
Galileo has a similar program.
Officials from the two institutions noted, however, that students are not only benefiting from the money raised.
Having them in the store creating the baskets is an extension of their training.
“So they can apply what they learn in class here, in a work environment,” Galileo teacher Julie Mancini told Global News. “How to follow a schedule, how to follow a certain sequence, how to interact socially, they also learn how to welcome customers.”
Four students, including Tania Iacono, are working at the store. They started making the baskets in October.
“I’m here four days a week,” he said, on a break from doing the baskets. “I’m here on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.”
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The baskets come in different sizes and the content varies and their price ranges between $ 20 and $ 150.
Friends 4 Cause has been raising money to help autism programs for four years.
According to Coscia, they are in the middle of their fundraising goal for this year.
“Our first year we raised $ 14,000,” Coscia said. “This year our goal is $ 50,000 and we are at $ 23,000.”
They hope to exceed that goal in the coming weeks.
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