Meet your neighbour
by Rhonda Massad
“Every day I am inspired by the courage and bravery of our clients, many of whom are new to Montréal and look to get back on their feet” Watts
Sam Watts was a corporate consultant for 15 years until two months ago when he accepted a position as CEO and Executive Director of the largest charity in Quebec that responds to the needs of the disadvantaged, The Welcome Hall Mission (WHM).
“I got a call about an opportunity at the WHM that had me captivated in the first five minutes, but it took some heavy consideration before I took the leap because I loved what I was doing,” Watts explained. “Now here I am, privileged to serve those who serve the disadvantaged.”
Watts replaced long-standing CEO, Cyril Morgan who stated in the 2015 annual report that in addition to the corporations and foundations which sustain the WHM, more than 38,000 individuals joined to support the work of Welcome Hall Mission.
“I am following in the steps of a rock star,” Watts said. “Mr. Morgan did a great job building the connections with Montreal, and we have a great partnership with the province as well.”
Founded in 1892, by businessman Thomas Basset Macaulay, the WHM is a multi-faceted charity that offers a variety of services. Every week hundreds of Montrealers use the food bank serving families in need, programs that help mothers and their babies, a free dental clinic, children and youth services as well as the shelter that still houses 200 men that opened its doors on St. Antoine Street all those years ago.
“We have a treatment center for men struggling with addictions and a dental clinic that does hundreds of free procedures each week,” Watts explained. “It is hard to get a job when your teeth are really bad.”
According to Watts the Mission serves more than 2,400 clients per week at their food bank and runs a wide variety of adaptation programs for homeless men, vulnerable women and the disadvantaged or disenfranchised. Meals are served to youth in gay village on Beaudry Street.
“We are fortunate to have the resources to house food in our 250,000 cubic foot storage space along with freezers totaling 14,000 square feet of space . Our services are spread out over six buildings in the downtown core.”
Today the WHM employs 140 people and has 500 volunteers manning the operation that takes about $18 million to run each year. The Welcome Hall Mission receives millions of dollars worth of food supplies provided by individuals, churches, and organizations every year. Also, Welcome Hall Mission buys food and other products to provide nutritious, balanced meals to their clientele.
More information about the Welcome Hall Mission can be found at www.welcomehallmission.com