A Bit of Light in the Darkness through the Wilfred Schlegel Hope Fund

Jackie Farrell’s life was shattered in the course of three short days when her husband died suddenly of unexplainable heart failure. She was immediately lost in the shadows of overwhelming, sudden grief with two young children to guide through the loss of a loving father, and one doesn’t make it through such turmoil without support.

In the Village of Riverside Glen where Jackie works as a neighbourhood coordinator, her extended family stepped up right away. There was no way they could take away her pain, but they could try to give her the time she needed to begin processing it and help her children begin to do the same.   

Team members supporting each other in times of need is the beauty of the Wilfred Schlegel Hope Fund. 
Team members supporting each other in times of need
is the beauty of the Wilfred Schlegel Hope Fund. 

As a team, The Village coordinated an application to The Wilfred Schlegel Hope Fund in Jackie’s name. There would be bereavement time allocated through the regular employee benefits, but they knew Jackie would also need some financial help in order to get the most out of that time, and the Hope Fund could provide that.

“The Village of Riverside Glen as a team was phenomenal in wanting to do something for me,” Jackie says. She doesn’t know specifically who led the application process and it doesn’t really matter, for her gratitude spreads well beyond her immediate Village team. The Fund is made possible through the contributions of employees from across the entire organization who donate whatever they can afford, and the Schlegel Family matches those donations up to a maximum of $50,000 a year. It’s there so when people face tragic circumstances, as Jackie did that dark April weekend, a bit of light can find them. 

The support she received was that bit of light.

“I knew I didn’t have to worry for any reason because everybody just picked up where I needed it to be picked up,” she says.  “The whole process for work, for team members and everything was just fantastic. There was a lot of support,” and it came from everywhere within the organization. One day a call came in telling Jackie an extra deposit was going into her account, compliments of her fellow team members and the Hope Fund they contribute to, and it made the crawl into the summer months a little more bearable. She could manage the time away from work a little easier with the extra resources.

“It helped me to have that time off to be able to get things straightened out,” she says. “It was almost like a relief that I didn’t have to think about anything financially. “It felt like I had all the support in the world to be able to sustain my family so that I could come back and be just as strong as when I left.”

She was able to spend six months away from work, focusing on the most important thing in her life. “The hope fund allowed me to be with my children,” she says, and for that she is beyond grateful.