Westside Gathering celebrates a decade
By Jim Morrison
Dollard Des Ormeaux (DDO) resident, David Manafo knows how to throw a party. Manafo, in conjunction with Westside Gathering Faith and Community Service, on Sources Boulevard, is the face behind The West Island barbecue which is celebrating its 10th year this Aug. 17, at West Island College.
Westside Gathering started with five people in the home of David and Franca Manafo in the spring of 2003. With a love for God, this small group continued to grow as they gathered for prayer and planned to build a new church in the West Island. In October 2003, the first gathering occurred in a community centre in Kirkland. Over the course of 14 months the church continued to grow spiritually, by building and serving its community, and eventually started public gatherings in DDO in December, 2004.
The barbecue is intended to connect the community, by means of sharing a meal together, helping each other, or hanging out at the park.
Westside Gathering is responsible for financing the event which has served close to 700 citizens in a given year.
“We have between 50-70 volunteers, and we receive help from local businesses which makes it happen. The event is completely free. We never ask for a donation, but we ask for non-perishable food items,” Manafo told The Suburban.
The gathering has allowed for the ability to provide lunches to 35 children on a daily basis at Springdale Elementary in DDO the past two years.
“Our plan is to offer some support to a local food bank, as the need is recognized by Westside Gathering,” added Manafo.
“This event is a sense of community coming together in every way, shape or form.
It’s truly inspiring how in one day we can reach out to so many people. This barbecue, offers a second to just look around and remind you how fortunate it is to be part of such a great community, said Vaudreuil resident, Karine Nasri, who has worked as event coordinator the past three years.
“A true community outreach that builds relationships founded by love, service, and celebration”, West Island resident, David Hodges, who has performed as a hip-hop artist the past seven years, told The Suburban.
Further information on The West Island community barbecue can be viewed at www.communitybbq.ca
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