On the first Sunday of each month, those attending the worship service are invited to bring non-perishable food items to be donated to the NDG Food Depot.
Sharing the Plate
The Unitarian Church of Montreal shares our weekly offering collected during the Sunday service with local organizations in need of support and whose missions coincide with ours. We are pleased to support the following excellent programs in 2017:
January: Head & Hands
From the website: "At Head & Hands we envision a society in which all youth are participants and are inspired by the endless possibilities available to them. Head & Hands' mission is to work with youth to promote their physical and mental well-being. Our approach is preventative, inclusive, non-judgmental, and holistic, with a fundamental commitment to providing an environment that welcomes youth without discrimination. We facilitate social change and the empowerment of youth based on their current needs within our community and society at large." They provide health, legal, and social services, a program for young parents, a food pantry, and many other resources.
February: N.D.G. Food Depot
From the website: “The NDG Food Depot is a community-based non-profit organization that works collaboratively with other community partners to address issues of food security in NDG and the surrounding areas.
“We realize that providing only emergency food does not address the root causes of poverty and hunger in our community. Our approach is to first meet basic food needs for families and individuals with inadequate incomes, and then address underlying problems that may be preventing people from reaching the next level in their lives. All our services respect human dignity, recognize individual needs and provide the groundwork for building networks and a stronger community.
“People from diverse cultures, ages and backgrounds come together to grow, cook and share fresh healthy food at the Depot. Our Food Baskets, including fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs and milk, are distributed to people having difficulty meeting basic needs. Nourishing Community Meals are served on distribution days to anyone at no cost. After-School Cooking Programs teach children and teens basic nutrition and kitchen skills, young mothers gather to cook and share, and Cultural Cooking Workshops break down barriers and offer leadership opportunities to recent immigrants. Collective Gardens and Urban Agriculture Workshops invite participants of all ages to learn skills for growing food indoors and out."
March: Chez Doris
From the website: “Our drop-in program, in a home-like setting, receives up to 100 women per day. To the best of our ability, we try to provide an environment that is safe, and is inclusive, confidential, respectful, supportive, and helpful. We are a welcome relief to those who suffer from loneliness, isolation and depression and we assist women who struggle with financial insecurity, homelessness, mental illness, addictions, and/or other adversities. Our services and programs include: breakfast and lunch; access to showers and hygienic products; emergency food bags; 6 respite beds; telephone information and referral assistance; a financial management program; an Inuit assistance program; an Aboriginal housing program; health and mental health services; legal services; as well as educational and socio-recreational programs.”
April: Santropol Roulant
From the website: “Santropol Roulant is an intergenerational community food hub where we grow, prepare and deliver food. In doing so, we create a continuum of engaging services that help build a stronger social fabric, and increase food security and social inclusion for Montrealers.
While the Roulant welcomes people of all generations and walks of life, our activities and programs benefit two groups of people in particular: young Montrealers and those living with a loss of autonomy. Through volunteering, attending or leading workshops, or working at the Roulant as an intern or staff member, new generations are encouraged gain experience and knowledge, share ideas and take on leadership roles in the community. Our meals-on-wheels serves clients living with a loss of autonomy who need support to cook and access healthy food. Client-members, 80% of which are seniors, increase their food autonomy and social connections through regular meal deliveries, intergenerational events and a variety of projects and activities where clients take on various roles and levels of engagement.”
Among other programs, Santropol Roulant runs collective gardens and promotes urban agriculture, delivers meals on wheels, offers a variety of community workshops, and operates a bike shop where volunteers teach you how to fix your bike.
May: The Syrian Kids Foundation
From the website: “The Syrian Kids Foundation (SKF) is a Canadian charity that aims to offer humanitarian relief and social services to Syrian refugees from all different backgrounds, sects and religions. The services include free education, psychological counselling, social relief, recreational activities, and essential subsidies. Al Salam School in Reyhanli-Turkey, a project of SKF, blends the best of Syrian and Canadian values — to rebuild trust, self-worth, compassion, and open-mindedness in Syrian refugee children. We aim to empower a new generation with a worldview that would help create the necessary conditions to establish a democratic society.”
Al Salam School, the SKF’s flagship project, delivers free education to more than 1,880 Syrian refugee children in grades 1-12, including 150 orphans, 120 illiterate children, and a number of children with disabilities. It employs 60 Syrian refugee teachers and holds classes in five shifts from 7am to 6pm, 6 days per week. There are 1,000 children on the waiting list. “Staff salaries and transportation comprise 80% of the monthly expenses. Apart from the international volunteers, all other staff members of the school (teachers, support staff, and bus drivers) are paid an allowance to support their families. All of these staff members are Syrian refugees, with the exception of the locally hired Turkish bus drivers. Al Salam school plays a critical critical role not just as an educator, but also as a source of financial support, for the Syrian refugee community in Reyhanli.”.
June: St. Michael's Mission
From the website: “The Mission provides an important link in the chain of services for the city’s disadvantaged and marginalized population, offering breakfast and lunch, showers and hygiene products, clothing and emergency food to a multilingual and multicultural clientele.
“Other basic services include crisis intervention, as a first step in the process of rehabilitation as well as assistance in welfare, unemployment, immigration and refugee issues enabling clients to take their place in today’s society. In addition, information and referral services are given on mental health and addiction problems.”
July & August: The NDG Art Hive and the Cheap Art Collective
Art Hivesbelieve in the power of building community through art by breaking social isolation, welcoming a diversity of people together, inspiring and providing unique opportunities for individual and collective expression and action in the world. An Art Hive:
• welcomes everyone as an artist and believes art making is a human behavior.
• celebrates the strengths and creative capacities of individuals and communities.
• fosters self-directed experiences of creativity, learning, and skill sharing.
• encourages emerging grass roots leaders of all ages.
• provides free access as promoted by gift economy.
• shares resources, including the abundant materials available for creative reuse.
• experiments with ideas through humble inquiry and arts-based research.
• exchanges knowledge about funding strategies and economic development.
• partners with colleges and universities to promote engaged scholarship.
• gardens wherever possible to renew, regenerate, and spread seeds of social change.
The NDG Art Hive has have offered a free, bilingual community arts studio in NDG Park for two summers in partnership with the Ville de Montreal, which has welcomed more than 100 attendees each week: families, young adults and seniors from diverse backgrounds and experiences. In addition, we have provided ‘Pop-Up’ Art Hives at the Unitarian Church, Benny Library, and Intercultural Festival, among other places. The all-inclusive aspect of Art Hives fits the First Principle, allowing participants to come as they are: their presence, not their product, is valuable.
L’Itinéraire’s mission is to support and empower people on the streets. It offers help with financial and practical life skills, food security, and socioprofessional integration, and increases awareness of the difficulties related to marginalization, poverty, and itinerancy.
De la site Web: “Le Groupe communautaire L’Itinéraire est une entreprise sociale qui offre des solutions aux individus qui souhaitent évoluer en société, et qui ont la volonté d’entreprendre des projets d’affaires à échelle humaine. L’Itinéraire responsabilise ces personnes et les aide à développer leur pouvoir d’agir sur leur condition financière et sociale par leur implication dans des projets d’économie sociale. Les participants à nos programmes sont des personnes vulnérables, soit des hommes et des femmes, jeunes ou âgés, à faible revenu ou sans emploi, vivant notamment en situation d’isolement social, de maladie mentale ou de dépendance.
• L’empowerment : Le Groupe communautaire L’Itinéraire mène des projets d’économie sociale qui ont pour but d’accroitre l’autonomie, les compétences et l’employabilité des personnes qui ont la volonté d’améliorer leur condition de vie.
• Entrepreneuriat social : L’Itinéraire est une entreprise d’économie sociale au sein duquel la valeur de l’entrepreneuriat est partagée par l’ensemble de ses membres. Les actions de chaque participant visent à créer de la richesse, qui est versée en tant que revenu aux individus ou qui est directement réinvestie dans la communauté afin de contribuer à la finalité du groupe.
• Dignité : Les gens qui composent la communauté de L’Itinéraire sont empreints d’une grande dignité, que ce soit par leur courage d’assumer leur situation, de se prendre en main ou du respect mutuel qu’ils souhaitent inspirer par les actions pour créer de la richesse.”
October: Mile End Community Mission
From the website: “In this, our 25th year nourishing the community, the Mission expects to serve over 14,000 meals, fill 10,000 grocery bags and provide countless essential services to its growing membership. Not just a soup kitchen, the Mission provides structure, purpose and meaning for its chronically poor, socially excluded and disadvantaged members.
The Mile End Community Mission is a community hub that allows members to connect and support one another. Receiving only a small amount of our funding from government assistance, the Mission relies heavily on public donations and fundraising events to continue offering these crucial services.”
The mission offers free hot meals, a weekly food bank and emergency food bags, a mobile dental clinic, and affordable clothing and small household items; to promote community, they provide art and yoga programs, computer and telephone access, outings and special events, and a monthly community dinner; and it also provides information, referral, and support services (including counseling, advocacy and accompaniment) and access to the Mile End Legal Clinic.
November: L'Abri en Ville
From the website: “Our mission at L’Abri en Ville is to provide a stable and fulfilling environment for persons with a mental illness through safe, affordable housing and inclusion in a community that supports their social, material and spiritual needs. We believe in a society in which persons with mental illness can be full, contributing members. We extend support to others interested in adopting the L’Abri en Ville model.”
“Building community is an integral part of our purpose. It flows from the long-term nature of relationships, the opportunities to gather, and the caring of individuals for one another.”
L’Abri en Ville has been connected to the UCM community since its founding, and members of our community have both served and been served by it.
December: Montreal Diet Dispensary
From the website: “Founded in 1879, the Montreal Diet Dispensary provides each year nutritional and social support to more than one thousand pregnant women in need to help them to give birth to babies in good health. Recognized for its expertise in perinatal nutrition, the Dispensary’s expertise and activities are aimed at pregnancy and the first months after birth.
To achieve its mission, the Dispensary has the following objectives:
• reduce the number of disadvantaged low birthweight babies;
• encourage and support breastfeeding;
• through a social nutrition approach, prepare families to take charge of their physical and mental wellbeing and at the same time favour their social integration.”