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:
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: The Depot Community Food Centre (formerly N.D.G. Food Depot and Action Communiterre)
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.
" Our objectives are to reduce the hardship of living in poverty by:
- improving food security for people with insufficient income,
- increasing access to healthy food,
- alleviating social isolation and fostering social integration of all community members, reducating the public at large about issues of poverty and hunger."
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: Bienvenue à Notre-Dame-de-Grâce
Bienvenue à NDG is a nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating the integration of immigrants (newly arrived or other) in the community of Notre-Dame-de-Grace as well as promoting intercultural relations. Bienvenue à NDG has operated since 2009 in partnership with the NDG Community Council, the Comite Action 6-12 and the Table de Concertation Jeunesse NDG (Youth Table). Things they do:
• Welcoming: Information kiosks directly inform immigrants about services, organizations, and the activities of the community. Kiosks are staffed by Intervenants that speak many languages, in the hope of connecting with Immigrants. There are members of Bienvenue à NDG who speak Mandarin, Arabic, Russian, Spanish, etc.
• Breaking Isolation: strengthen the sense of belonging by organizing and animating social integration activities that bring individuals together.
• Training and Preparation for Employment: Organize and facilitate workshops about skills and information needed. Offer career development opportunities and encourage their participation to the development of the community.
• Accompanying: Assist newcomers in their efforts of integration through meetings with an Agent of Integration • Partnership and Intercultural Dialogue: Work with community partners to better meet the needs of immigrant families.
Money donated by the Unitarian Church of Montreal will be used towards Bienvenue à NDG's French courses. Bienvenue à NDG has come to understand that the inability to speak French has become a major stress in the lives of newly arrived immigrants. It limits their access to services (that lack a staff that speaks other languages) and therefore makes it more difficult to integrate into the community. As each family arrives and is matched up with an Agent of Integration, their first conversations are about the need to learn French—they try to find French courses that are most practical for the family in terms of cost and schedule. Bienvenue à NDG worked with volunteer teachers and NDG residents to develop a series of workshops teaching practical French to their participants (and other interested residents) for free. As many of their participants are parents, free childcare was offered to make attendance possible. Unfortunately, Bienvenue à NDG no longer has the funding or resources to continue this program and has had to shut it down. The UCM’s contributions will go to support it.
June: The Native Women's Shelter of Montreal
Since its incorporation in 1987, the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal has provided shelter and support to First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and their children who are in difficulty. The goal of the NWSM is to provide a safe environment where women can begin to rebuild their lives. They offer support and frontline services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis (Aboriginal) women and children to promote their empowerment and independence. The NWSM is the only women's shelter in Montreal that provides services exclusively to Aboriginal women and their children. The NWSM can accommodate up to 16 women and children per night. The NWSM is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year. They offer in-house programs as well as an outreach program. They provide 20 workshops a month which range from art therapy to traditional teachings. What makes their shelter so unique is that it works within an Aboriginal framework. They incorporate as many different teachings from all the different cultures of First Nations Inuit and Métis. They combine traditional healing techniques and contemporary approaches to give the women a multitude of options to address their needs and issues and deal with their traumas.
July & August: The NDG Art Hive
Art Hives believe 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.
The UCM's contribution will help enable the Art Hive to offer programming in other neighbourhoods of NDG—often the more underserved ones, such as Westhaven and Walkley, where there is a high percentage of single-parent families and recent immigrants. UCM members are welcome to continue participating at the Art Hive, and "pop-up" (mobile) Art Hives can be set up at UCM events. As part of the 8th Principle, materials are donated and/or eco-responsibly attained (saved from the dump).
September: Gender Creative Kids
From the website: “Gender creative kids are kids who identify and express their gender in ways that differ from what others may expect. Gender creative kids are also sometimes referred to as gender nonconforming, gender variant, gender independent, transgender, and in the case of Aboriginal children, two-spirited. Sometimes gender creative kids grow up to identify with the spectrum of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two spirited (LGBTQ2) communities… and sometimes they don’t. Gender diversity is healthy and gender creative kids deserve to be supported and affirmed in their families, schools and communities.“Gender Creative Kids Canada is a non-profit volunteer run community organization, based in Montreal, initiated by a group of parents and registered in Quebec on the 29th of April 2013. Not only do our volunteers (parents and allies) run the website, they also offer support and advocacy parent groups, training to schools and other organizations, workshops and they create safe spaces for gender creative kids everywhere!”
October: The Native Friendship Centre of Montreal
From the website: "The Native Friendship Centre of Montreal is a non-profit, non-sectarian, autonomous community development agency whose principal mission is to promote, develop, and enhance the quality of life in the urban Aboriginal community of Montreal. The NFCM, being a part of a national initiative that bridges the gap between 2 cultures, serves the Aboriginal population consisting of the ten First Nations of Quebec, as well as the Inuit and Métis of Montreal. The ten First Nations of Quebec include the Cree, Mi'qmaq, Naskapi, Algonquin, Montagnais, Abenaki, Mohawk, Attikamekw, Huron and Malecite. NFCM provides the services of an urban Aboriginal Centre, where people from across Quebec, Canada, and the Americas seek support and referral services in Montreal.
"The Centre is mandated to assist Native people who are making a transition to or through the urban community and to improve the quality of life of the urban Aboriginal population of Montreal by providing access to services and referral through central, suitable, and appropriate facilities where cultural, educational, recreational, and social activities can be held. Through its programs, activities, and services the NFCM aims to uplift the quality of life of the urban Aboriginal population of Montreal, as well as those migrating to or in transition through the city by safeguarding their health, social, and legal conditions and by assisting these individuals in the achievement of their dignity and their quality of life."
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.”