The Mood Disorders Society of Canada (MDSC) has launched Defeat Depression Niagara, a fundraising initiative that aims to raise money to support local mental health organizations and programs.
With May being recognized as mental health awareness month, the organization has set a goal $10,000 to raise by the end of the month. The money will then be split among its partners for their respective programs.
This year marks a decade of operation for MDSC, a non-profit which partners with different organizations around the country to form local initiatives. This is its first year operating in Niagara.
Normally, fundraisers from MDSC take the form of walks and runs and other social events, but with lockdown restrictions in place, the approach to fundraising has changed. This year donations have gone online. Those who donate over $15 will receive a loaf of artisan bread in return.
“If our restrictions do ease, we can always prolong this program for a couple more weeks and host a walk,” said Jessica Scerbo, chair of Defeat Depression Niagara.
She said donations at times like these are vital, as the organization is normally able to reach out to small local businesses for help.
“But because everyone's kind of suffering right now, no one really has the extra money or proceeds to be donating,” Scerbo said.
This year, a large portion of the proceeds will go to Gateway Residential & Community Support Services, an organization in St. Catharines that provides housing for those dealing with mental illness and are unable to take care of themselves.
Especially in times of lockdown, initiatives like these are important – not only to help those access resources outside of the home, but also to keep in mind those who live in what may be unsafe environments.
On May 29, Defeat Depression Niagara will host a one-hour live broadcast fundraiser in a last push effort to reach the $10,000 goal. A goal that Scerbo said they are currently well behind.
Moosa Imran, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News