Shoppers Drug Mart is showing the love for Southlake Regional Health Centre with a $27,500 donation toward its mental health program.
Ten stores in Newmarket, Aurora and Bradford joined together for the annual LOVE YOU fundraising program for women's health, and exceeded their goal, said Ken Mo, owner of the Aurora Shoppers at 15408 Yonge St. and group ambassador.
"We know (Southlake) will make good use of the money — whatever they can do, have more beds, more equipment, more physicians, more nurses. When we toured the facility, at that time, there were patients in the hallway because of the capacity issues, and we thought we could help and that's why we chose to support mental health," Mo said at the donation event today at the Aurora Shoppers on Hollandview Trail.
"As pharmacists, we see a lot of patients who have mental health issues and we know it's a big group who need help," he added.
Each Shoppers location last fall held a fundraising event, from barbecues to a book sale, Mo said, adding he's grateful to the community and staff for their support.
"We couldn't have done it without them. This year, everyone really pitched in."
The donation "is a humongous help," said Aga Dojczewska, manager of adult inpatient mental health at Southlake.
"The communities are growing and so is the need for mental health assistance. We are running out of space in our hospital, so this money is going to be huge for us when it comes to helping us with the expansion," she said.
Southlake is planning to add 12 beds to the inpatient mental health unit, which currently has 29 beds "that are full most of the time," she added.
Last year alone, the mental health program had 1,200 admissions and 34,000 outpatient visits, she said.
"A lot of patients come to our hospital because they are in crisis, they're not getting the support in the community," Dojczewska said.
The Shoppers locations in Newmarket, Aurora and Bradford have been longtime supporters of Southlake, first through their Tree of Life fundraising program and now through the LOVE YOU campaign, said Corinna Jones, Southlake Founation community events officer.
The team of 10 stores has committed to raising a total of $100,000 and "we're well on the way to completing that," Jones added.
The LOVE YOU by Shoppers Drug Mart is a four-week program held across Canada and is one of the leading partnership programs of the LOVE YOU by Shoppers Drug Mart platform – the company commitment to improving the health of all Canadian women in body, mind and spirit.
The program offers patients, customers and employees the opportunity to donate directly to the organizations that make a difference in their own communities.
Since 2002, the program has raised more than $38 million for Canadian health charities. In 2019, more than 500 women’s health charities across Canada will benefit from the program’s proceeds with 100 per cent of funds staying in the community where they are raised.