by Rhonda Massad
In unprecedented numbers, close to 1,000 West Islanders gathered at the Beaconsfield Recreation Centre on November 19, to banish hunger on the West Island. The first annual Neighbours for Neighbours Food Drive started with a simple Facebook conversation between two mothers, Stephanie Koury and Rhonda Massad, trying to teach kindness to the next generation.
What happened next was heartwarming and not uncommon on the West Island. The community took notice of the little engine that could and within hours 1,300 people had been invited to the Facebook Event. Desjardins threw in their support with a contest giving $1,000 to a West Island charity along with a visit from their Mobile Branch, the Beaconsfield Citizens Association came to the rescue handling all administrative matters and heavy lifting, MINC Incorporated handled the marketing, 94.7 agreed to broadcast live all morning and the City of Beaconsfield offered up the venue. All within days.
On this special day, volunteers gave their time and people donated close to 600 cases of food. Member of National Assembly of Quebec for the riding of Jacques-Cartier,Geoffrey Kelley, surprised the organizers with a contribution of $500 from the Soutien-Action-Benevole, for each of the five food banks that expressed a need. Member of Parliament for Lac Saint Louis Francis Scarpaleggia donated food along with several other local politicians. Provigo Kirkland donated $300.
Beaconsfield Girl Guides, Lakeshore Midget BB Panthers, West Island College students, the Beacon Hill Ringettes, Madison our youth photographer coupled with Nathalie Madore professional photographer and countless other youth and adults joined hands to triage the donations for the five food banks. Police Station 1 took part in the fun by hosting coffee with a cop alongside the initiative. On Rock Community Services, John Abbott College Food Bank, Sainte Anne de Bellevue Food Bank, West Island Mission, and West Island Assistance Fund were on site to lend a hand and pick up the sea of food at 2 p.m.
A special treat bag prepared by Beaconsfield residents Dr. Annette Bourdon and Dr. Richard Roy that showed off various local businesses such as Meals that Matter, Miss Manitt’s Bakery, Ricardo’s, Mouvement Sante Beaute and Dairy Queen were handed out to the first 100 people who arrived at the drive. Even Spiderman showed up for the afternoon rush.
Beaconsfield Pharmaprix, Beaconsfield Metro Plus, Kirkland’s Canadian Tire, Beaconsfield and Kirkland Tim Horton’s, West Island Blog, Chez Miche and Provigo Pierrefonds gave of their hearts. West Island Blog, The Business Box and Impact Printing took care of many of the costs required for posters, speech bubbles, coffee and food for the volunteers. Danson Decor, McDonald’s West Island, Daycare Maisonneuve prepared 15 stunning baskets to kick start the upcoming gift giving season.
To contribute to the local food banks or volunteer next year contact [email protected]