Organizers and volunteers were very busy last week, but the end result will be full bellies and happier holidays for almost 1400 people. The Saint-Laurent Magasin Partage de Noël offered disadvantaged families not only food, but also a few hours of respite from their struggles.
This was a first Magasin Partage for over half of the participants, who found the supermarket set up in the community centre much more appealing than a food bank. Through the Regroupement Partage organization, donated food and necessities were placed in rows and priced at a fraction of the cost.
The effort was made to ease the stigma many underprivileged families feel, but that stigma is fading as the numbers of families coming to the Magasin have been increasing every year, a worrisome fact.
« It means that more families are living near or below poverty line and is affecting people of all backgrounds, » says the Cofounder and Executive Director of the Regroupement Partage Sylvie Rochette.
She was passionate as she spoke with Mayor Alan DeSousa about Saint-Laurent having an outward appearance of wealth but assuring him that there is a growing poverty problem that needs to be addressed.
This was evidenced by the Magasin’s a festive and bright atmosphere, offset by the underlying anxiety over food insecurity. This played on the emotions of the organizers as well.
« Our partners have been very generous and helpful, but these people and families require more than just a day of shopping. When they come to thank you with tears in their eyes, well, let’s just say there is much more to do, » explains Catherine Adam, the Saint-Laurent Events Coordinator.
The remaining goods were given to the Oasis, whose mission is to help families in the district by offering food free of charge.