A group of solicitors going door to door selling chocolates are not associated with the Philippine Cultural Association of Yellowknife (PCAY), says president
Lea Barbosa-Leclerc, the president of the PCAY says she posted in the Official Yellowknife classifieds Facebook group last week in response to public concerns about solicitors going door-to-door selling Purdy’s chocolate bars and asking for donations.
Barbosa-Leclerc says it started with PCAY members contacting her, and people messaging the PCAY Facebook page to find out if the solicitors were associated with the local cultural organization, she says.
“They wanted to validate whether we knew about the out of towner Filipinos,” says Barbosa-Leclerc.
She did some research and found out that they were from the Children’s Joy Foundation, which is a registered charity with the CRA, but the organization is not registered with the Northwest Territories corporate registry.
The charity is headquartered in Surrey, B.C., with offices in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario, and has received complaints in the past about their collection tactics.
In 2014, Calgary police launched an investigation into the organization’s legitimacy after residents complained the group was aggressive when requesting donations.
After seeing locals complaining on Facebook about the door to door tactics of the out-of-towners, she felt she should make a statement that they are not affiliated with the local association.
“In 2016 we came to the same sort of situation. There were some Filipinos from out of town who came here,” she says, which prompted the organization’s director to contact her.
“Through Facebook messenger, he messaged to me to say that we should be working for the same common good, we should be doing this for the destitute people in the Philippines,” she says.
“And my response to that is I do agree, I do believe that we all need to help others who are needing help. However, I think we need to do it in a right, respectful, professional manner.”
At the time, Barbosa-Leclerc says she suggested that the foundation contact the PCAY the next time they were in town.
“The Philippine Cultural Association in Yellowknife could maybe pave the way, and maybe we can introduce you properly,” she says she told him.
“So the concern that we have this time, this year… is apparently they were introducing themselves plainly as Filipino. And this group of women, they were not specifically explaining who they were, and so Yellowknifers felt they were associated with us.”
Barbosa-Leclerc says she made the recent Facebook post to clear things up.
“The concern that I have is, we live here. I’ve lived here since I was 16 years old. And the PCAY have always been active. So the concern that I have is, they come knocking, they sing songs, they request money, with no respect to other individuals when they say no.”
Barbosa-Leclerc says she believes some of them have asked people for credit cards when cash donations were refused. She says that while she applauds their mission to help others, she just wants them to be transparent about it.
“They need to be clear about who they are and what the money is for. Some people are asking me should I or should I not give. The position of the PCAY and the local Filipinos is that we have no right to tell them how to solicit. We have no right to tell Yellowknife individuals how they should give money and how much money they should give them.”
The PCAY has a good reputation in town, Barbosa-Leclerc says.
“And every time they come here, we have to sort of rebuild that reputation. This is our home, this is not their home. We feel that when they leave, we fix what was done.”