St Michaels Mission
Grateful for the Generosity Montreal Anglicans
Everyone who lives here knows how brutal Montreal winters can be; and no one is more acutely aware of this then the city’s homeless population. Last year, this group suffered 13 deaths; over half of them were weather related. And just one month into this year, the death toll is up to 5 people.
St Michael’s Mission is doing the best they can to avert this heartbreak - and offer warmth for those who need it most. For the third consecutive winter, they are providing a warming station, or halte de chaleur, for those living on the streets. When the temperature dips below -20, the Mission opens its doors from 9pm to 7am and folks are welcome to come in, rest their feet, get some nourishment with hot soup, coffee, tea and baked goods. They can even leave with a blanket. It is the only warming station run by a day mission in Montreal.
With funding by la Société de Development Social and other community partners, getting people to the warming station is a collaborative effort. According to Executive Director, George Greene, “With the help of the Old Brewery Mission shuttle bus, intervention workers and STM employees refer people they find left in the cold either to our warming station or a night shelter which has vacancy. We will come together to reach out to those who are forgotten outside in the cold and assure they have the option to keep warm.”
Of course the warming station is just one of the many services the Mission, provides. They also offer meals, showers, crisis intervention, legal advice, haircuts, foot care and many other essential services for some of the 3000 homeless people in the Montreal downtown core. In the past year, they have also welcomed other missions, such as Saint James Drop-In Centre and Amitie/Friendship, to their family.
There is a long standing relationship between the Mission and the Diocese of Montreal. Not only is the Mission housed in St John the Evangelist (the Red Roof), but I’ve heard George say on more than one occasion that “we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the Anglican Church.” He lights up when he talks about how local parishes help out; “Some serve monthly pancake breakfasts, othersdonate freshly ground coffee and produce from their garden. We have churches regularly donating linens, toiletries and food. One parish invites us for Christmas dinner in their parish hall every year. And of course, there are several Anglican parishioners who have a regular presence at the mission, from delivering baked goods to giving haircuts.”
George would love to see more parishes get involved… and there are many ways to help. The Mission is always looking for gently used clothing, especially men’s smaller sizes (it is rare to see an overweight man living on the streets). Donations of food, toiletries and socks are welcome as well.
And of course, financial support is critical to the operation of the mission. That is why George was both honored and grateful to have been chosen as one of the beneficiaries of this year’s Bishop’s Action Appeal. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as it’s been a tough year for the Mission. For the first time, they are running a financial deficit, in large part due to the loss of $70,000 in government aid and private donations. That’s why the help of the Bishop’s Action Appeal is particularly appreciated.
If you would like to donate to the Appeal, you can call the Synod Office 514-843-6577 or visit the website at http://www.montreal.anglican.ca/baa2016. Your support is warmly welcomed.