04/12/2014 02:36 EDT | Updated 06/12/2014 05:59 EDT

New West Island non-profit takes flight

A new volunteer-run West Island non-profit organization is hoping to fill some of the cracks in the region’s front-line social services.

Community Wings was started by Selina Richard to offer services that she once had trouble finding as a down-on-her-luck young mother of two.

“I’ve struggled a lot, I’ve lived through a lot of cracks in the system, and almost didn’t make it out,” she told Sonali Karnick, host of CBC Radio’s All in a Weekend.

“When you’re not aware of the resources and you’re not aware of your rights, you don’t know how to proceed. I decided that I want to help fill the gap somehow.”

Barely a year old, Community Wings’ services are already proving indispensable to families and individuals in need in the West Island and Vaudreuil.

Those services are focused on providing donated necessities like food, toiletries, clothing, furniture and baby items.

“It’s truly fantastic because everybody just comes out of nowhere and offers us such items,” Richard says.

Richard is currently studying sociology and theology and says her vision for Community Wings is to see it expand its services to include therapy programs for victims of traumatic experiences like conjugal violence.

“Instead of saying ‘here’s your food, goodbye,’ we can say, ‘Here’s your food, would you like to talk? Do you need a few addresses, phone numbers of other places you can go, other things you can do,” she said.

“We need to be able to help these people mentally as well as spiritually.”

Community Wings is hosting a silent auction fundraiser and wine and cheese tonight at the Opti-Centre on Harwood Boulevard in Vaudreuil-Dorion. Tickets are $15 in advance / $20 at the door.