Bayer Fund

Grant ensures community members have access to local healthcare services

Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague, Quebec – Quick and easy access to healthcare is important to everyone, and COOP de Solidarité et Santé de la Famille aims to provide just that to rural families, with services such as blood tests, medication injections, bandaging, vaccinations, and suture removal. 

The clinic operates as a member co-op and is continuing to grow, with more than 1,000 members currently. Many of the co-op’s members work long hours in the agriculture industry and appreciate the easy access to healthcare services that don’t require them to drive into the city. 

When the COVID pandemic first hit the area, the co-op’s board of directors and staff were concerned the clinic would have to shut down due to equipment shortages and safety concerns. The co-op receives no government funding and relies solely on memberships and donations to operate. 

Thankfully, a nomination for the Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities (CFGC) grant from local farmer Jason Ness resulted in COOP de Solidarité et Santé de la Famille receiving much-needed funds to keep their doors open. Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities is funded by Bayer Crop Science and aims to strengthen rural communities through local non-profit organizations that do much-needed work in their communities. 

Annemarie Goodall, a nurse at the co-op and a member of its board of directors, says the CFGC grant was used to ensure the clinic was functioning during a time when hospitals were overwhelmed with COVID patients and the co-op’s services were needed more than ever. 

“The CFGC grant helped us upgrade equipment and ensure the protection of our employees by acquiring the necessary PPE,” she says. “It contributed to our cashflow, which also helped ensure staff salaries were maintained, even when we had to limit the number of patients due to pandemic restrictions. We were able to accommodate an influx of new members that have since become repeat users of our services.” 

Aside from the financial impact the CFGC grant has had on COOP de Solidarité et Santé de la Famille, Annemarie notes the grant has also given the co-op more visibility and credibility in the community. In addition, the CFGC grant allows a spotlight to shine on agricultural producers who are giving back to their communities. 

“Being in a farming community, I find when the agricultural industry is given some recognition for contributing in a variety of ways, it sits well with the community,” she says. “The visibility of this contribution demonstrates to the community the value of the agricultural industry and its interest in giving something back when given the opportunity.”