Tonina Fiorentino and Donna Salo-Campbell have come together to make music for a good cause.
The two musicians met 15 years ago at Holy Rosary Parish on River Avenue, where they are both music ministers and have sung at numerous funerals and weddings.
Fiorentino, a Charleswood resident, said after hearing them sing, people would ask the ladies for a CD of their music, which they didn’t have. In 2009, the musicians received funding from Richard Wojcik, on behalf of Wojcik’s Funeral Chapel, to make an album, which they decided they would sell to raise money for charity.
The result is Insieme, their first album. Insieme means together in Italian.
On Nov. 14, Fiorentino and Salo-Campbell, who is a St. Vital resident, presented Siloam Mission with a cheque for $10,000 at a service at Holy Rosary Parish. The money is half of the album’s total proceeds.
In 2010, the first $10,000 was donated to help fund breakfast programs at St. John’s High School and Luxton and Machray schools.
"Look outside, it’s winter. I have a roof over my head, I have a warm bed at night, I have food on my table. We may not be the richest people, but we have everything we’ve ever wanted and more, and we wanted to give," Fiorentino said.
"If I can use my gift (of music) to make $20,000 and give it, then I will do it."
Fiorentino said the goal in making the album was always to use the duo’s music to help others and they were able to do that with the help of Wojcik.
"He was an important part of it," she said.
Wojcik said he’s known both Fiorentino and Salo-Campbell for many years after hearing them sing at funerals. One day he suggested the ladies make an album and that he would fund it.
"They said they’d hold me to it one day, and finally they came to me and said they’d take me up on my offer if it was still open. I didn’t know at the time they were planning on (giving) to Siloam Mission, or where the money would go, but I knew they were doing it for charity," he said.
Wojcik said he was happy to be involved with the project and is glad to see the money is going to a good cause.
"It humbles you to see that your thoughts and benefits, and your suggestions… have made a difference in people’s lives," he said.
Judy Richichi, director of resource development at Siloam Mission, said the money will go a long way in helping those in need.
"Donations that size are few and far between, and the fact (Fiorentino and Salo-Campbell) put together a CD and thought of us at all is incredible," she said.
Richichi said $10,000 buys 3,333 meals at the mission.
"If you consider what we do, each meal is an opportunity to connect with somebody and provide hope," she said.
"Once they’re through our doors they get a chance to connect with other programs. That’s 3,333 chances of hope."