by Rhonda Massad
The West Island Mission (WIM) food bank delivered 270 baskets to West Island residents who have fallen on hard times this season. The Westview Bible Church on St. Charles and Pierrefonds was a hub of activity on both Friday and Saturday, December 16 and 17 in preparation for their big holiday push.
“The most important thing is that these families feel important and loved,” West Island Mission operations manager Wendy Gariepy said to the 175 West Island volunteers. “I have grown to love them, they may be shy, they may invite you in for a tea, do whatever makes you comfortable.”
The sanctuary of the church was filled with bags supplied by Pharmaprix and IKEA for each family. Each pew where there would have been a person next Sunday for mass held a bag that contained wrapped gifts donated by people in the community.
“We divide the donated gift items into bags that will go to a specific home,” said one of the volunteers who wished to remain anonymous. “We prepare the gift bags based on age and sex.”
Adults are not forgotten by the WIM. An entire room was devoted to adult gifts.
“Everyone deserves to have a Christmas,” said volunteer Susanna Briscoe who can often be found at the WIM warehouse organizing food and stocking shelves.
Lead Pastor at Westside Gathering in Dollard des Ormeaux, David Manafo, gave thanks and shared a verse with the crowd.
“God of abundance, help us live today trusting that there will be enough for tomorrow. Your sources have no end. Teach us to share our resources, believing that the more we give, the more you will provide for all. Amen,” Manafo said.
The spirit and joy of the season was on the face of the all the volunteers as they received their map and instructions for delivery. The group participated in a mannequin challenge just before shouting Merry Christmas and taking off for their good deeds.
The West Island Mission serves Île-Bizard–Ste-Geneviève, Pierrefonds-Roxboro, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Pointe-Claire, Beaconsfield, and Kirkland. It distributed 249 baskets following its first food drive in 2004. The demand for food baskets has steadily increased every year since.
For more information, call 514-912-6813, email [email protected] or visit www.wimmoi.com.