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CannTrust celebrates local launch of We Care platform


July 7, 2019
By Andrew Snook

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Diane Corkum, executive director of Project SHARE, talked about the impact of the organization’s community gardens for families in Niagara Falls

Project Share’s community garden at Our Lady of the Scapular Parish in Niagara Falls, Ont. was buzzing with members of the community and local media taking in the celebration of the local launch of CannTrust’s We Care national social responsibility platform.

The event focused on a couple of the charities and non-profits that CannTrust is partnering with in the Niagara Region: Project SHARE and Hospice Niagara.

Morgan Cates, director of communication for CannTrust, says her company is very fortunate to have communities like Niagara Falls and Vaughan, Ont. (where they employ a total of more than 700 people combined) open to them setting up operations, and that CannTrust believes it is important to give back to these communities.

“We want to showcase how caring and giving the people in our company actually are,” she said.

The We Care national platform was officially launched at the Lift & Co. Cannabis Business Conference earlier this month, and focuses on four key areas: lifting people out of poverty; health and wellness; safe consumption; and sustainability.

The first We Care partnerships announced were a $50,000 donation to the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) for the non-profit’s Built for Zero campaign; a donation of $25,000 to Project SHARE; and a three-year commitment of $25,000 in annual donations to Hospice Niagara for its music therapy program.

For Project SHARE’s executive director Diane Corkum, who has worked with the organization off and on for the past 30 years, the donation from CannTrust was “a wonderful bolt of lightning from the sky”.

Project SHARE provides emergency food items to 126 families living below the poverty line every day in the Niagara Falls area. The organization runs three community and allotment gardens that grow 4,000 lbs. of organic produce for local food banks. In addition to the $25,000 donation for the Project SHARE 2019 community garden season, CannTrust is donating volunteer hours and its knowledge as experts in cultivation.

Over the past three years, Project SHARE had been receiving its funding through the Ontario Trillium Foundation, but those funds had run out this past February; leaving the organization scrambling for new funding. CannTrust reached out to the organization to offer donations to cover the funding for materials and other needed funding for the 2019 growing season.

“It was a really nice surprise. They’ve been wonderful to deal with,” Corkum said.

For Sam Piccirillo, the community gardens offer her family options for healthier living, both physically and mentally.

“We’ve been doing this for 13 years and it’s been excellent for my family, we get to eat our own stuff,” she said, adding that when she steps into the community garden it offers her a form of therapy. “All of the gardeners share information, they share plants; it’s like a community. I’ve just really enjoyed doing this all these years.”

Carol Nagy, director of Hospice Niagara, was also on hand for the event and thanked CannTrust for their support of their music therapy program, designed to help people through one of the most difficult times in their lives.

“One of our dreams was to start a music therapy program because we know how music can touch our lives,” she said, adding that her organization spent years trying to search out corporate funding for the program without success. “CannTrust, we thank you.”

Michael Caplin, general manager for CannTrust’s Niagara operations, said that the giving and caring philosophies of his organization are something shared by all its employees.

“It has become our mantra that every CannTrust employee lives and breathes,” he says.

For more information and updates on the We Care platform, visit www.Canntrust.com/WeCare.