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Nothing brings the neighbourhood together like kids and bagels

October, 2010

Many a time, when I dragged myself from my warm bed on a winter morning in elementary school, I was spurred only by the promise of the lovingly made breakfast downstairs.

In high school, when breakfast was rushed, if not skipped entirely, and meticulously planned lunches became a rarity, I realized for the first time the importance of good and consistent diet. Without food, I was constantly tired and lacked focus.

I can’t imagine having gone through elementary school without the meals provided for me or the means to provide them myself.

So as I walked to St-Viateur Bagel on Monkland for Generations annual fundraiser, I felt a pang of nostalgia and realized of the relevance of the event I was going to attend.

The Bagel-O-Thon would benefit Generations Foundation, which provides nourishment for 6,500 Montreal school children. All the morning revenue would go to the foundation.

Alice Abracen interviews Adrian Bercovici at Bagel-O-Thon in front of portraits by Mike McLaughlin, who donated his earnings that day to Generations Foundation. Photos: Barbara Moser

The event was a great success, and it was with difficulty that I managed to find a table.

“This is our fourth year at the event,” said Q92’s Natasha Hall. “We broadcast live to get people to come down and help raise money to feed the kids. We’re just trying to get the community involved.”

Various items were marked for auction: tickets to a Canadiens game, autographed Alouettes jerseys and Habs hockey sticks, paintings, and more. Raffle tickets were being sold and portraitist Mike McLaughlin was sitting outside with an easel, donating his earnings to Generations.

The administration of my alma mater were enjoying breakfast alongside delegates from various school boards, all supporting the foundation that provides nutritious meals and programs to their students.

“Our mandate is to help kids,” said Adrian Bercovici, founder and executive director of Generations. “We concentrate on food because an empty stomach cannot learn. A lot of these kids develop behaviour problems, and right away they want to give them Ritalin. A snack makes a difference!”

The population of NDG agreed. The influx of bagel-seekers was such that the other St-Viateur Bagel, across town, had to send a van several times to deliver more bagels to their beleaguered sister restaurant.

Thérèse Lambert, Alice’s grandmother, enjoys her breakfast for Generations.

“So far we’ve raised $10,000,” Hall calculated halfway through the morning, “and the goal is $14,000, so we’re going to get there.” The St-Viateur Bagel regulars were also pleased with the turnout.

“I’m here regularly,” said Jean-Pierre Fortin. “Every year I come to the event, it’s a real pleasure to see everyone here. It’s our first duty as a society to take care of our kids.”

“Generations Foundation is an incredible organization,” said C.D.N./ N.D.G. mayor Michael Applebaum, who’s been honorary president at past fundraisers. “And it’s managed by a powerful team: Adrian and Natalie Bercovici are incredible.”

The organization, which started in 1999 in a basement, has made a considerable impact on the community.

“The schools tell us that without our resources, a lot of kids wouldn’t come to school,” said co-founder Natalie Bercovici.

“The police have said they don’t have to go quite as often to the schools to straighten out any problems as kids are not stealing other children’s lunches. It doesn’t happen overnight, but there is an improvement and so we’re happy to continue to help out the community.

“The reward is that children are happier because they are able to function better with the right food.”

Call 514-933-8585 to donate.



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