More than 650 people benefited from the day-long Winter Bazaar hosted by the Maison des familles de Saint-Laurent. It was an opportunity for low-income families to find adequate winter clothing which they often lack. Another layer of poverty is food insecurity, and the Maison des familles is now collecting donations for their Magasin-Partage de Noël.
It is a two-day pop-up grocery store where families in need can register and shop for necessities at a reduced prices.
The 400 households who will take part had to meet some rigorous conditions. After calling to make an appointment, the registration process demanded proof of address and income, health cards, only one entry per home and availability during the two days of the Magasin-Partage. This thoroughness is meant to break the ice and learn about any other underlying issues the families might be facing.
Front line workers like Event Coordinator Catherine Adam see that the disparity between wealth and poverty is growing. « Saint-Laurent is often seen as a wealthy area, yet there are many who are suffering behind closed doors. We want to help them come out and feel welcome and offer any resources needed to help them, » Adam says.
The Maison des familles has seen a marked increase in registrations for this year’s Magasin-Partage, and take it as a clear marker that more support is needed.
Dignity and support
Saint-Laurent will open the doors of their Magasin-Partage de Noël on December 18 and 19 at the Centre des loisirs. The families who use the service already suffer from the isolation poverty can impose and though the grocery store’s main goal is to relieve hunger, the ideal is to feed hope.
« The Magasin is not a food bank. We want families to feel welcome and treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. That is why we set it up like a grocery store. Families are given a budget and they can purchase what they want and not just given a box of food, » explains the Executive Director of the Maison des familles de Saint-Laurent Marie-Agnès Lebreton.
There are 17 different Magasin-Partages in as many different municipalities throughout Montreal. They have worked together to build a collection of basic non-perishables, hygiene and household products. The goods will be divided amongst the locations and further donations will be gathered with the local population’s specific dietary tastes in mind.
The goal is to offer the shoppers a choice and the dignity to feel like a normal citizen and fill their carts with food they want, not be forced to eat things they might not want.
For more info
514 333‑8989, ext. 325