West Island food banks

Hunger on the rise

By Jim Morrison

Kim Reid, the president, and founder of on Rock Community Services sees first hand that hunger in the West Island is on the rise.

“We have seen an increase of 15 per cent in families, who are in need of our services on a weekly basis. We have 23 families on a three week waiting list,” said Reid.

Boxes of food, with an average value of $150, are prepared for pick-up every Monday for the 200 families in their database. Each family is charged three dollars to maintain responsibility. Up to 80 people take part in the community dinners on Tuesdays, and Thursdays, for a cost of two dollars for an individual, and five dollars a family.

On Rock secured a truck, through a donation this year, it alleviated much of its logistical challenges.

Wendy Gariepy, operations manager, West Island Mission, (WIM) sees the growing trend in the need of food banks.

“WIM has had a 10 percent increase in need of our support. We want to help everyone, but it is a challenge” Gariepy told The Suburban.

Claudine Campeau, executive director of the West Island Assistance Fund (WIAF) is busy collecting Christmas baskets, and is appreciative of the support of the corporate world and community involvement.

“WIAF has been around for 47 years, and we service 863 families on a monthly basis. We are able to meet the requirements of the families,” said Campeau.

On Monday, Dec. 8, WIAF will coordinate a toy day for children up to 10-years-old, where the parents will pick the toy for their child

The increase in demand is attributed to a number of factors. Finding employment higher then minimum wage is difficult to find and maintain. The rising senior population, with a fixed income, as well as those with issues of mental health presents a difficult balance.

WIM is organizing its ninth annual Christmas Basket distribution for underprivileged families in the West Island. The Christmas Basket distribution will take place on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Westview Bible Church in Pierrefonds, 16789 Pierrefonds Blvd. This year, families and their children will receive baskets filled with well-balanced food and gifts to help them out during a time of year when the financial strain is often the most difficult.

WIM are in need of volunteers in delivering these baskets, which takes up no longer than two hours.

On Rock Community Services is a community organization committed to making a difference at in the Montreal area by being a resource for peo-
ple in the community. This takes various forms, including a Food Bank, a School Lunch Program, and a Community Diner.

The vision of West Island Mission and purpose is to seek out and make a difference in the lives of people who struggle with poverty in the West Island of Montreal. We hope to see peoples’ suffering and despair replaced by joy and hope.

West Island Assistance Fund works towards the elimination of food and economic insecurity in the West Island, while supporting self-sufficiency of their clientele.

“Our goal is to give dignity back to people, not to take it away,” added Reid.

On Rock Community Services (www.onrock.org) can be reached at onrock@onrock.org or [514] 696-1905 

West Island Mission
[514] 912-6813

West Island Assistance Fund
[514] 683-0456
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