The idea of the Wilfred Schlegel Hope Fund takes the concept of the “Village community” to a whole new level, says one of the committee members who helps administer the emergency funds to team members in need. “We are literally supporting people we have never met before from other villages, because we are so in tune with our values of supporting our brothers and sisters,” he says.
Established in early 2018, the benevolent fund is voluntarily paid into by team members through payroll deduction and the Schlegel family matches the contributions dollar for dollar to a maximum of $50,000 a year. The funds are then available to support team members who’ve fallen upon hard times. The cause of the struggle matters not, so whether illness has struck, a spouse has lost their job or an accident has placed strain upon the family, the committee will consider the situation. In the past, villages have stepped up to support their own, as any tight knit community would; the WSHF simply streamlines the process and brings the full force of every village community together in a sense of collective solidarity.
“Our team members work tirelessly to serve, support and care for residents, family members and other co-team members who experience difficult times of their lives,” the committee member says. “These team members do it unselfishly and out of the kindness and goodness of their heart to ensure those folks are not alone, so when they experience rough patches in their lives, it is important for me to step up and support them to ensure they are not alone.”
A fellow committee member agrees that it is an honour to serve the Schlegel Villages community as a volunteer committee member for a worthy cause. She remembers her childhood vividly, growing up in a household that struggled to make ends meet, especially after her father lost his job.
“I never forget those hard times and recognize that many of our team members experience financial hardship,” she says. “I want to be able to serve them and give them hope in times of difficulty.”
On top of the one-time financial support, the committee also has the opportunity to direct the team members in need to other areas of support, such as the Employee and Family Assistance Program, which offers comprehensive counselling in several key areas of personal need.
“We hope the financial gift will provide immediate help and that the other resources will provide long term help,” says the committee member.
“At Schlegel Villages, we care about our team members as much as we care about our residents,” she says. “When you join the team, you become part of our family, and we look after each other in times of joy and times of need. Employees in a health care setting can tend to think of their role as exclusively caregiver, but we want our team members to be receivers of care and compassion as well.”