Islanders helped raise more than $36,320 for mental health supports in the province through last week’s Moo Let’s Talk Day.
The fundraising event and awareness campaign was hosted by Joe and Heather Driscoll and Cows Inc. in memory of the Driscolls’ son and former Cows employee Jason Driscoll, a UPEI student who died as a result of suicide last year.
March 1 would have been Jason’s 22nd birthday.
“We appreciate all of the support so much, and we can’t find the words to thank everyone that played a part in making this such a huge success, but know that our THANK YOU extends to everyone,” Joe Driscoll wrote in an open letter on his Facebook page. “Let’s keep ‘Talking till the cows come home,’ and turn Mental Health discussion into a topic that no longer has a stigma attached, and can be openly accepted as just another illness that affects too many people, but can be greatly improved by simply speaking up and speaking out.”
Thousands of Islanders visited the Cows Creamery, Cows’ Queen Street store and a pop-up shop hosted at the W.A. Murphy Student Centre at UPEI to buy ice cream, special edition T-shirts, and/or make a donation on Moo Let’s Talk Day.
The campaign totaled $36,320, with the sale of ice cream, shirts and the donation of March 1 wages and tips from staff to round up the Cows Inc. contribution to $30,000 even. The rest of the money collected came in the form of donations made directly to CMHA-PEI and corporate sponsorships to help cover promotional costs.
Cows president and CEO Jackie McIntyre said the company has already committed to making Moo Let’s Talk an annual event.
CMHA staff have already dedicated a portion of the donation to delivering nine free SafeTALK sessions across the province. SafeTALK is a half-day alertness training that prepares anyone 15 or older, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper.
Dates and locations are still being sorted out, but will be posted to CMHA-PEI’s website (www.pei.cmha.ca) and on their Facebook page in the coming week. Registration will be required.