Shortage of volunteers impacts Heart and Stroke Foundation campaign

Nancy MacPhee
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NEW LONDON — For decades, Robert Montgomery went door to door in his community collecting for an organization that is, literally, close to his heart.

Heart and Stroke Foundation of P.E.I. door-to-door volunteer canvasser Cindy Fraser takes a donation from Ruth Sudsbury of Summerside’s Brennan Avenue. A shortage of canvassers is impacting the foundation’s fundraising goal.

Montgomery, 73, is a heart attack survivor.

His heart troubles started at age 40.

“I had a bad heart attack in ‘93 and I had bypasses two years ago,” said Montgomery. “From my great-grandfather down my line, I am the only male that ever made it to 70.”

Shortly after his heart troubles began, he signed on to be a volunteer canvasser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of P.E.I.’s annual campaign.

“I’ve worked of the Heart and Stroke (foundation) for over 30 years as a canvasser and then the past number of years I’ve been a team captain.”

But people like Montgomery are becoming increasingly harder to find. 

A provincewide shortage of door-to-door canvassers has prompted the Heart and Stroke Foundation of P.E.I. to lower its February campaign fundraising goal from $140,000 to $80,000.

Crystal Cobb, fund development officer, said this year only about 500 signed up to canvass door to door during Heart and Stroke month.

Usually, 900 to 1,000 volunteers, each visiting about 15 homes, are needed.

“We’re missing a lot of doors,” said Cobb.

She noted that an aging population coupled with a younger generation who have little time to volunteer are reasons for the shortage.

“This year we really had a major, major struggle. You talk to hundreds and hundreds of people and for 100 people you might get three or four yeses.”

As a result, fewer Island homes will be visited this month and fewer donations collected.


To see the full story, pick up Thursday's Journal Pioneer

Organizations: Heart and Stroke Foundation of P.E.I., New London

Geographic location: Iceland, Tignish, Charlottetown Kensington Summerside

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Recent comments

  • Ann
    February 20, 2013 - 21:44

    Like many charities, their method of recruiting volunteers has become antiquated. I have not seen a single request for volunteers from this organization or almost ANY organization in Summerside. The best way to reach volunteers is to use social media (even Kijiji & Usedpei have volunteer sections), Facebook campaigns, etc... Give lots of notice and be clear about what is expected from a volunteer. Some people are worried that the small amount of time they have wouldn't be enough. Just look at how many volunteer the Canada Games recruited a few summers ago. Times have changed and fewer people go looking for volunteer opportunities but if they see a need they may just step forward.