L to R at the Miriam Centre in Montreal: Marisa Mastrocola (Manager for Adult Clinical Services), Barbara Richardson (Educator), Leanne Fiddler (Educator), Joanne Cutler, (Chairman of Community Services, B’nai Brith Quebec), Daniel Amar, (Coordinator), Harvey Levine, (Executive Director, B’nai Brith Quebec), Sean Stirrup (Educator).
By Joanne Cutler
Chair of Community Services
B’nai Brith Canada - Quebec Region
Throughout its history, B'nai Brith has been a formidable institution of charity in Canada. We at B'nai Brith Canada feel it's our duty to support the most vulnerable members of our community as it makes a genuinely positive impact on the world – a pivotal pillar in our mandate. And in the Quebec region, we take particular pride in providing assistance to those in need.
And so, with several packages filled to capacity in my SUV, it was time to embark on a wonderful day of goodwill for some of Montreal's finest charities.
Along with Harvey Levine, B'nai Brith Canada's Quebec Regional Director, we began our day at the Miriam Centre to meet with some of its wonderful employees for a tour of its offices and day centre. The Miriam Centre is the headquarters of the Miriam Foundation, an organization that helps people with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities to lead fulfilling lives. In addition to the incredible research and educational opportunities available, the Centre also provides several arts and culture programs, including music, gym, arts and crafts, cooking classes, etc.
As we proudly handed out tickets for a forthcoming Montreal Alouettes game on Oct. 30th, we were greeted with smiles and gratitude. We sincerely hope it will be a memorable and enjoyable outing for participants and their families. The Miriam Centre is truly a wonderful place and a staple within Montreal's Jewish community.
L to R at Chez Doris: Harvey Levine, Joanne Cutler, (Chairwoman of Community Services, B’nai Brith Quebec), Marina Boulos-Winton (Executive Director of Chez Doris), Tania Filippone (Assistant Director of Chez Doris), and Harvey Crestohl, B’nai Brith CVS Volunteer.
We met with Marina Boulous-Winton, the organization's executive director, and Tania Filippone, the assistant director who gave us a fabulous tour of the facility – and we were joined by B’nai Brith volunteer Harvey Crestohl. It was so nice to walk past the arts and crafts room where activities were taking place – we could even hear the women helping each other and chatting about their lives. I myself purchased five of these mittens to give as gifts and to help support Chez Doris. They are not only beyond warm, they are beautiful – each one completely unique. We found out that the timing was perfect for our donations, as the pantries of Chez Doris were quite bare! We proudly watched as our seven boxes were unloaded from my trunk (which consisted mostly of non-perishable food ready to be stacked into Chez Doris' pantries) as well as lots of toothpaste, toothbrushes, socks and other much-needed supplies for the 60 + women who eat two meals a day in the dining rooms of Chez Doris every weekday.Next, we made our way to Chez Doris, a charitable organization that offers week-long daytime shelter for women in need, providing meals, respite, clothing, socio-recreational activities and practical assistance in a secure and accepting environment. The organization has apparently been more successful in achieving its mandate than originally anticipated. On this particular day, participants of Chez Doris' programming, along with several volunteers, came together to transform tired wool clothing into warm winter mitts.
Having met with so many of those who depend on the services provided by these two organizations, the day was truly overwhelming yet inspirational. So many people live day to day, praying for kindness.
B'nai Brith Canada will continue to help supporting these two organizations as well as the greater community at large. Thank you so much to the Miriam Centre and Chez Doris for allowing us to help out for the day, and thanks to those who contributed the boxes!
The first three images below include artwork and mittens given as gifts at Chez Doris. The last two include artwork at the Miriam Centre.