Compassion for the Homeless Brings Down Cultural Barriers during the Holidays

MONTREAL, Dec. 24, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, all come to the Old Brewery Mission during the Holidays to serve the homeless. Members of the Montreal Sikh community will be serving the Christmas Day lunch at the Webster Pavilion, while the Muslim community will be serving supper on New Year's Eve.

"The Old Brewery Mission provides a meal to anyone who shows up at the cafeteria as a means to both feed the homeless and help those who cannot afford rent, food and other essentials for the whole month," says Matthew Pearce, the Mission's President and CEO.

Never having forgotten their roots in homelessness, members of the Montreal Vietnamese Community invited over 200 clients from the Mission to a festive night at the Ruby Rouge Restaurant on December 20th. Ladies from the Greek Community were so touched by what they saw when they recently served supper that they are now raising funds to buy a washer and dryer for the Mission's Patricia Mackenzie Pavilion for homeless women.

At this time of year, support from various community groups brings good cheer to those who live in isolation and poverty. "A warm bed and nutritious meals are but two of the services we provide to the homeless in Montreal. Our transition and housing services help some 500 men and women each year to get back into society,' explains Pearce.

Still, the needs are great as indicated by the fact that the newly launched Café Mission and the Annex were functioning at full capacity within a week of opening this fall.

When it comes to celebrating the Holidays with the homeless, there is but one language - compassion.

The Old Brewery Mission at a Glance

  • Nearly 125 years of service to the homeless in Montreal.
  • The largest resource for homeless men in Quebec and for homeless women in Canada.
  • Develops and implements sustainable solutions to homelessness.
  • Partners with other resources in Montreal to ensure that the needs of the homeless are met.
  • Recently launched three innovative programs to reduce homelessness:

    Café Mission is a casual Internet café that allows trained counsellors to connect with men and women who live in a state of chronic homelessness. Options such as income stability, medication, group support or reconnecting with family and friends are offered to improve their life circumstances. The Café welcomes 80 to 180 people daily.

    The Annex has 14 beds for first-time users of OBM services. Throughout their 2-3 week stay, residents work intensively with counsellors, one-on-one or in groups, to deal with the issues that led them to us, so they do not have to seek a shelter again.

    Les Voisines / Neighbours helps clients from our Patricia Mackenzie Pavilion for women to bridge the gap between shelter life and a return to the community. Through a routine of simple daily tasks and group activities, this capacity-building initiative helps ten women at a time to develop the life skills needed for managing daily tasks. This new initiative reduces the number of women who return to shelter life due to the inability to adapt to community life.

Note: Event photos available on request


For further information:

Andrea Danielle Wong
Communications Officer
Old Brewery Mission
514-788-1884, ext. 24
Cell: 514-475-7542

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