For over 40 years, a Lachine man has been giving back to the community, an achievement that was acknowledged by the governor general of Canada.
Every two weeks you can find Brian Cadoret at the Resurrection of Our Lord church on 34th Ave., in Lachine. Rows of grocery bags filled to the brim line a table by the door, while volunteers oversee boxes of fresh produce. When Cadoret calls your number, it’s your turn to stock up.
There are 150 families in Lachine from a variety of backgrounds that get help from the food bank throughout the year. For some, like Lachine resident Tracy-Lee Woods, the service became essential to help feed her family after being diagnosed with cancer.
“I didn’t have to feel like a failure as a mom,” said the mother of two, who had become too sick to work. She has been registered with the food bank for two years now.
The friendliness of the volunteers, who would check in on Woods’s health, is part of what makes the food bank special. “It’s a good feeling to know a face when you come, because it’s intimidating at first,” Woods said.
Cadoret’s family was not well off when he was growing up in Quebec City. “We were among poor families and there was no system like welfare,” he said. When times were tough, people would knock on the church door for food. In the same spirit, he started the food bank in 1953 with one of the priests. At the onset they served 15-20 families a month.
After an anonymous nomination, Cadoret was among 55 Canadians awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers by the governor General of Canada in April. The honour took him by complete surprise.
Though he is long retired from the electronics industry, the 86-year-old keeps busy and lends his time to the Kiwanis Club of Lakeshore Montreal and Lachine Hospital Foundation on top of the food bank. “I worked my whole life. I can’t just sit down and watch TV,” he said. “It’s everybody’s duty to get out and help somebody.”
Lunch time at the food bank, volunteers run fresh apples or bananas over to the children at Maple Grove Elementary. In the future, Cadoret would love to see the food bank expand to a soup kitchen that could serve hot meals.
Lachine residents can register for the food band starting in January at the Resurrection of Our Lord Church, 34, 34th Ave., Lachine.