Today was the annual Holiday meal of Chez Doris Women’s Day Shelter, which welcomed 300 women to the Evangel Church in downtown Montreal. In order to meet the growing number of women in need, Chez Doris has organized two back-to-back holiday parties, a lunch and dinner service.
Nearly 300 women affected by poverty, homelessness and/or health and mental health problems were served, during the meal, by police officers from Stations 12, 20, and 50 as well as volunteers. They were also serenaded by Montreal singer-crooner Matt Mardini. Barbara Diabo, a dancer specializing in Aboriginal dance with hula hoops, presented a dazzling show that was tainted by her Mohawk origins to the women.
The entertainment was offered by the extraordinary showman Sheldon Kagan and his DJ and MC, Guy Trottier. To conclude the event, the foot patrol Officer Éric Charbonneau, from Station 20 – Sector Ville-Marie, lent himself to the game by disguising himself as Santa to distribute gifts. All the women present at the celebration were able to walk away with a gift card of their choice, a gift box of the Shoebox Project and chocolates.
ABOUT CHEZ DORIS: Chez Doris offers services and programs to provide for women’s most basic and immediate needs related to coping with homelessness, poverty, mental illness and/or addictions. It is the only women’s day shelter in Montréal open 7 days a week, from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM. Services include: breakfast and lunch; access to showers, hygienic products, and a clothing depot; emergency food bags; 6 respite beds; telephone information and referral assistance; custodial services and a financial management program; an Inuit assistance program; an Aboriginal housing program; health and mental health services; legal & tax filing services; as well as educational and socio-recreational integration programs. Chez Doris’ drop-in program welcomes up to 100 women per day. This fiscal year, Chez Doris will receive more than 2,000 different women and serve more than 42,000 meals. www.chezdoris.org
Left feature photo: Chez Doris
Right feature photo: From left to right standing up, Allison Lemieux, Floor Team Leader, Felicia Katsouros, Intake caseworker and Neha Shukla, caseworker for Inuit clientele. Sitting down, Caseworkers Shelay Paris and Alannah Gibson.