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Immigrants and established residents equally in need

March, 2011

You can travel the world, but there is no place like home in Montreal. There is diversity here that few cities parallel.

As tourists here, we can embrace a variety of cultures through visits to ethnic sections of the city, engage in conversation with people of other cultures, discover distinctive art forms and enjoy healthy meals with food imported from other countries.

Our city is home to thousands of immigrants and established residents who are equally in need. There are children who live in group and foster homes who hope they will be adopted into a loving family.

Montreal has an undercurrent of individuals living below the poverty line. It is difficult to imagine that in this affluent city, where a large proportion of residents enjoy dining out, single parents or single-salary wage earners, often with many children to support, are struggling to survive. They can pay as much as 40 per cent of their income in rent. Add inflation into the equation. In Quebec, the consumer price index was up 2.1 per cent overall from last January. Food was up 2.1 per cent, shelter 2.2 per cent and transportation 4.8 per cent. Many of us in charitable services believe that the percentages are higher. Interestingly, footwear and clothing index declined by 2.4 per cent, meaning there is less demand. The needy often have to choose food ahead of clothing.

This city has heart. There are government-funded programs and assistance available at community centres or from charitable grassroots organizations such as Generations, who offer services with funds acquired through generous individuals, organizations and businesses. Our communities are constantly evolving and inevitably all roads lead home.

HSBC Premier Bank staff volunteer their time at Generations Foundation. Photo courtesy of Generations Foundation

Whatever situation erupts in the Middle East, Haiti, China, and the United States, will affect us, and together we must be ready to do all that we can to help vulnerable individuals. Home is where the heart is at Generations Foundation. We focus on the well-being of children in schools each day and send kids to camp during the summer. We assist families, including seniors, in crisis. Activities include the daily operation, fundraising, and greeting a variety of people, board members, school liaisons, and donors to confer and volunteer in pursuit of health and happiness for our clientele.

In its 12th year of operation, Generations Foundation finds that the scope and basic needs of the clientele are growing.

We, too, are looking for ways to curb operating and purchasing costs. We invite students and other volunteers to help sort and package snacks that we buy in bulk to cut costs and they are organizing projects to help secure more food. On a lighter note on the subject of food, my favourite subject, I propose we explore our city and encourage small enterprise in Montreal.

Begin the day with a breakfast at St. Viateur Bagel & Café on Monkland, enjoy a stroll at Atwater Market, browse the antique shops and have lunch at McKiernan. I’m saving the best stop for the last. Visit us on Notre Dame in the heart of the city. (514) 933-8585.



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