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