International Community Activity Award
To reduce the marginalization of people with disabilities, members of Des Lacs Council 10048 in Lac au Saumon, Quebec, helped raise $105,000 to purchase a new handicapped-accessible van for Amirams de la Vallée, an organization in Vallée de la Matapédi that provides aid to people with disabilities.
One hundred eighty council members, along with volunteers from Amirams gave 2,334 hours to raise the funds needed to purchase the van. The new vehicle, emblazoned with the emblem of the Order, replaced Amirams’ out-of-service van and now provides transportation to Amirams’ 57 clients.
The idea for this project came when Grand Knight Paul Gendron attended his first state council meeting and learned that the state council had funds that could be donated to organizations and people who needed them, and that very few requests for funding came from the eastern part of the province.
Brother Gendron’s father, who used a wheelchair, needed an appropriate means of transportation to go to activities organized by the Amirams. This organization offers transportation services for children and adults to educational, cultural and sporting activities as well as respite care. With the help of the president of Amirams and the Community Development Corporation, Grand Knight Gendron prepared the application. The state council offered to pay for half of the cost, but local funding would have to provide for the remainder. Brother Gendron and his team went about gathering funding, and the result was $105,000 and a fully-equipped 2010 bus.
The project offers safe transportation to 57 handicapped people in the area of the Matapedia Valley, a permanent job of driver, and it provides greater autonomy to the clients of Amirams.