Corporations Make a Big Contribution to YWCA Crabtree Corner

PHOTO: Natasha Krotez of the YWCA and Susanne Sherwood of Classic LifeCare catch up at the Crabtree Corner playground.

When Classic LifeCare owner Susanne Sherwood turned 41, in lieu of a party, presents and cake, she hauled her friends and family to YWCA Crabtree Corner to serve lunch to Vancouver’s most impoverished women and children.

Crabtree Corner is a YWCA Metro Vancouver program located in the downtown eastside. Almost 700 women and children access Crabtree every year for food, housing, education, support programs and medical services.

"My group of girlfriends used to pool some money and buy each other birthday presents," says Susanne. "Around my 41st birthday, I sent an email to everyone asking for food, cash or volunteer donations for Crabtree Corner and I got a great response."

She heard about Crabtree through a few friends who donate time and money there.

"I like that Crabtree benefits women and children. I'm fortunate that I don't have to worry about where my next meal is coming from or how I'm going to care for my children. I wanted to help women who do have to worry about those things." 

Susanne's experience with her friends when they volunteered inspired her to make Crabtree Corner a recipient of donation dollars from Classic LifeCare.

"What touched me when we volunteered was how many elderly immigrant women, who aren't receiving help anywhere else, were lined up for help. And they were so grateful."

Michelle Sing is the Vice President of HR, Volunteer Services, Crabtree Community and Marketing/Communications for the YWCA.

She started with YWCA Metro Vancouver when she moved to Vancouver from South Africa in 1996.

“I thought I’d stay for a few years, but the YWCA is an amazing organization and I really believe in the work we do,” says Michelle.

“Crabtree Corner is a unique building because there are multiple services under one roof. There is housing, parenting programs, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder resources, food, child care and medical services.”

When women come in the door of Crabtree Corner, they know they can find non-judgmental help and have access to all other YWCA services.

“Corporate dollars are vitally, vitally important to the survival of Crabtree Corner. It costs approximately $2.2M/year to operate Crabtree. We need to raise about $1M annually and receive the remaining money from federal, provincial and municipal contributions.

“If a company is interested in donating, I would encourage them to have a tour of our building to discuss what’s important to them and identify how money can be spent in a way they will be proud of.”

Michelle says it’s gratifying to see some of the women who have moved on from Crabtree and built a stable life returning to volunteer, which creates a solid, supportive community.

While corporate donations are vital to Crabtree, every little bit helps. If individual employees want to donate $5/paycheque, that money goes a long way.

“It’s more than a feel good thing to do. You are making a difference in a person’s life.”

Classic LifeCare, in addition to monetary donations, sends a few office staff every other month to fill lunch bags and hand them out at Crabtree.

Susanne says she considered a lot of organizations when deciding where Classic LifeCare would direct its support. Crabtree is local, small enough to feel like a donation makes an impact, and serves a great need for the women and children who access its services.

"Crabtree is amazing at keeping us updated about how the donations are being used and where the need is at that moment."

To learn more about Crabtree Corner, visit: http://www.ywcavan.org/programs/crabtree-corner

To learn about YWCA Cause We Care House, the YWCA’s new housing community for low-income single mothers and their children, being built a few blocks from Crabtree, please visit:  http://www.ywcavan.org/programs/affordable-housing/new-housing-initiatives

If you are interested in making a financial donation to Crabtree Corner or would like to arrange a tour, please contact Natasha Krotez at nkrotez@ywcavan.org or 604-895-5789. 

If you want to donate to Crabtree Corner through Classic LifeCare, contact Natasa Mihajlovic at 604-263-3621.