Solstice Jam & Nourishment for Hope offer support during the holidays

Fundraisers to provide food baskets to local families 

By Jim Morrison

Ste. Anne de Bellevue resident, Doug Miller knew he had the music in him, when his parents gave him a guitar at the age of eight.

“I performed at Expo 1967, when I was ten, with Bobby Gimby, who wrote the Canada song, and I was hooked”, recalled Miller, sitting comfortably on a stool at Harmonie Musique.

Miller has used his talents in offering up Solstice Jam. Approaching its 26th year, the event provides food baskets to the local community. “I played concerts the first two years with friends to give to the Gazette Christmas fund, and to Sun Youth. Solstice Jam was my way of organizing local professional musicians, in raising money for the Ste-Anne’s food bank.” Miller told The Suburban.

“As a father with a very large family, nine kids, food banks have played an important role in my life in the past. The Watchcats, for whom I play guitar, is our fifth solstice jam played, and it was our first live gig ever. Also there is a very large feeling of community felt at this event, friends, neighbors, citizens all getting together for an important cause,” said Mike Arless. “The annual Ste-Anne solstice is a great way for the community to get together and recognize all those talented musicians in the area. It’s for a good cause and it’s always a success,” said Karen Bayeur, who has volunteered at the above said the past several years.

“The event takes nine months of preparation. The town is very cooperative and the merchants on Ste. Anne’s street are amazing. We provided 20 baskets in 2008, and 60 last year. $50,000 has been raised, overall, in our history,” added Miller

Solstice Jam gets underway Saturday, December 14, at Harpell Park, 60 St. Pierre, Ste. Anne de Bellevue  with performances from Scrank, Ian Gray, The Watchcats, Zen Zawada, Kimberly Beyea, Brothers Nielsen, and Ilona Pad and Pierre Rousseau.

Tickets are available by contacting Doug Miller, 514-457-1835, or Harmonie Musique, 514-457-4799. $15 in advance,$20, at the door, $10, for seniors, and free admission at the door.

Jennifer Mundee, as a thirty year special educator at The West Montreal Readaption Centre in Beaconsfield, has seen first hand the need for food baskets at this time of year.

Thirteen years ago, this Chateauguay resident, with help from co-worker, Laurie Phillips, created Nourishment for Hope, to help underprivileged families with intellectual disabilities with much needed support during the holidays. 

“We have 50 educators with over 500 kids at our centre. The two week Christmas break when the children are at home is when parents struggle,” Mundee told The Suburban. 

“Each basket is prepared specifically for each family. “ We were able to fill eight baskets our first year, 20 in 2008, and 60, last year, prepared specifically for each family, based on number of individuals, ages, gender, and culture. We include non-perishable food, toiletries, and all preparations for a turkey dinner for the holiday season” added Phillips.

The baskets will be prepared the weekend of Dec. 14, with the first delivery on Dec. 21. Check out Nourishment of Hope’s Facebook page.

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