The Société de Saint-Vincent de Paul de Montréal offers food assistance because it is necessary
Montreal, March 11, 2019 - Together with the work of our collective kitchens, meals-on-wheels, collective gardens, food workshops, etc., the 69 Société de Saint‐Vincent de Paul de Montréal (SSVP) points of service located all over the island of Montreal also provide food assistance, donating food and in many cases providing vouchers for grocery purchases. In 2019, the need to act is still striking.
Giving food to the hungry—is this still relevant in today’s context?
The answer is yes and the SSVP has deliberately chosen this type of help to people in a precarious situation. Our services are designed for members of the public living in an emergency situation: simply of obtaining food. Donating food and purchase vouchers is a necessary program, given that services to develop competencies and capacities (collective kitchens, gardens, etc.) attract a different public, in better health.1
Research shows that our support has a positive impact in the short term on the mental and physical health of our beneficiaries.2 It’s harder to participate in any group activities on a regular basis when your stomach is empty. Having enough to eat is one fewer source of stress for people using our services. This gives them energy to devote to other aspects of their life.
Poverty is a phenomenon that includes numerous facets; our contribution is to reduce the pressures felt by people from the need to feed themselves. “Hunger is really a serious social problem in our society,” explains Denise Ouellete, Director General of the Société de Saint‐Vincent de Paul de Montréal. “Studies3 by the Research Chair in Community Approaches and Health Inequalities demonstrate that food donations are relevant.”
Each year the SSVP’s thousand volunteers provide between 30,000 and 35,000 separate help actions, in addition to Christmas baskets. While 59% of this help goes to single individuals, 14% goes to families with children, and 19% to single-parent families. Among these people, almost 35% have severe employment limitations. SSVP helps “the worst off of the worst off”: women (54%) and men (46%) living on less than $7000 per year.
After evaluating income to ensure eligibility, a food basket, or in some cases a food voucher, is issued. Each week volunteers in our 69 points of service empty the shelves of our pantries to feed the community.
Some points of service have partnerships with local big-box stores, distributors and a host of other organizations to enhance the support we give people.
SSVP has been in communities for more than 170 years and the need for emergency food remains apparent in 2019. Whether it’s a survival strategy or an emergency need or during difficult periods, we are putting food on the table.
About the Société de Saint-Vincent de Paul de Montréal
The Société de Saint‐Vincent de Paul was one of the first mutual aid organizations, founded in Quebec in 1848, with strong roots in various neighbourhoods in Montreal, Laval and the MRC de L’Assomption. Thanks to more than a thousand volunteers, at about 69 points of service, the SSVP offers listening, referral, support and assistance services to the most vulnerable. Due to the community involvement of our volunteers and their willingness to create connections, our actions promote the dignity, autonomy and integration into the community of people through food support, school retention and social insertion programs, as well as by offering access to basic necessities.
Contact: Sandra Friedrich, Communications coordinator - communication@ssvp‐mtl.org
514-526-5937 ext. 122
1 Roncarolo, F., Adam C., Bisset S. and Potvin, L., 2014. “Traditional and Alternative Community Food Security Interventions in Montreal, Quebec: Different Practices, Different People” in the Journal of Community Health, 40(2).
2 Roncarolo, F., Bisset, S. and Potvin, L., 2016 “Short-Term Effects of Traditional and Alternative Community Interventions to Address Food Insecurity” in PLoS One, 11(3).
3 See the CACIS website: http://chairecacis.org/recherches