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  • Writer's pictureJulianna Cavallaro

MADA offers a range of charitable services to West Islanders with their satellite location

The operations carried out by MADA's satellite West Island location aim to broaden their community outreach and provide food security, emotional support, and a sense of community to those who need it most.


Founded in 1993, MADA Community Center is a volunteer-based organization that evolved from a small neighborhood center to Montreal's central address for fighting poverty in the community. They provide their patrons with many free social and crisis services and serve as a safe haven for those in need.

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MADA's satellite location serves as a base of operations for MADA services in the area. West Island clients can come to eat daily fresh and nutritious meals in the cafeteria, pick up meals to go, receive boxes of fresh produce weekly, and pick up their monthly Chez Makolet food and essential items ordered from this location.

PHOTO: MADA Community Center


West Island volunteers can also pick up Meals à Partager and Shabbat to Share boxes to distribute to clients living in the West Island area. Meals à Partager offers a fresh meal to vulnerable clients who may be unable to prepare their own nourishing meals. Shabbat to Share provides Seder meal boxes for a kosher meal to instill a sense of community and togetherness. This location allows MADA to increase its service area and makes it highly convenient for clients and volunteers living on the West Island.


Those who wish to volunteer with MADA may visit;

https://madacenter.com/mada-west-island-volunteer/ and may contact Rabbi Shmuel Pinson, the Volunteer and Event Coordinator, who can also be contacted directly by email at rabbishmuel@madacenter.com.


For their other services, such as the monthly Chez Makolet food bank orders and Meals à Partager/Shabbat to Share boxes, people can submit the form at this link

https://madacenter.com/benefit/, or this link; https://madacenter.com/westisland/ , and the intake department will contact them to assess their needs and register them as a client.


West Island News Correspondent Hannah Johnston spoke to Enerio Yochanan, MADA's Executive Assistant Director, about their West Island location (15814 Boul Gouin O, Sainte-Geneviève, QC H9H 1C4). Provided below are transcribed answers pertaining to the West Island location, the services offered, and how volunteers may reach out and help the organization. The responses below are courtesy of MADA Community Center.


Q: Who can benefit from the MADA West Island services? (Such as the cafeteria service, Chez Makolet food bank, the Meals à Partager, and Shabbat to Share box deliveries?)

A: Our daily cafeteria service for pick-up or dine-in (right now, dinner is provided daily with lunch in the near future) and our fresh fruits and vegetable pick-up every Wednesday is open to the general public at our West Island location. There is no need to be registered as a client. For our other services, such as our monthly Chez Makolet food bank orders and Meals à Partager/Shabbat to Share boxes, people can submit the form at this link

,and our intake department will contact them to assess their needs and register them as a client.


Q: MADA's kosher food bank serves 12,000 meals weekly. With the increasing price of food and groceries and the community's growing need, how do you hope to continue providing food security to so many?

A: This coming year will mark 30 years since MADA's start. We've been doing this for a while, learning a lot year after year, and in the process, building a lot of experience learning, assessing, and assisting our community and its needs. As these needs continue to rise, MADA has proven that we work to fulfill those needs as best we can. Throughout the years, there have been a few organizations and initiatives around Montreal relating to community support and food insecurity. But many had to close with MADA taking over their responsibilities, Le Mercaz as one example. At the beginning of the pandemic, while many food banks reduced operations or had to close their doors, we stayed open every day, expanding our existing services and creating new ones. We continue to expand our gift-in-kind partnerships (partnerships with companies), so when there are shortages of ingredients that we know people need, we have the resources to get creative and figure out how to provide those items. We are constantly trying to think of new ways to go the extra mile to help our clients-- our community. As the needs grow, so does MADA.


Q: MADA has been operating since 1993; the Community Center is located on Decarie, and now there is this West Island location on Gouin in Sainte-Geneviève; how has the West Island location helped the outreach and accessibility to members of the MADA community?

A: The effects of living below the poverty line are prevalent on a wide scale. This location in the West Island allows us to expand our help to those in situations where they need MADA's services but don't necessarily have the option to travel from farther outside of the city to benefit from everything offered at our Decarie location. It has been incredible to provide our existing and prospective clients with a local West Island community where they can depend on us for various basic needs, such as food and social and emotional support. Focusing so much energy on figuring out where your next meal is coming from is exhausting. We hope our services can permit our clients to focus on their families and their relationships with others. We have reached out to you because with inflation and the price of rent, food, and gas, we know many people are struggling, and we want to help in any way we can.


Q: MADA programs would not be possible without the help of many volunteers. A team of dedicated volunteers makes certain services, especially Meals à Partager, Shabbat to Share, and Chez Makolet, possible for the community; if somebody wishes to give their time to MADA, what steps may they take to become a volunteer?

A: We have many opportunities to volunteer, both at our Decarie location and our West Island location, including distribution of daily prepared meals, organization and distribution of our weekly fresh produce pick-up service, and delivery of Shabbat to Share, Meals à Partager, and Chez Makolet boxes to clients living on the West Island. At MADA, we continuously work to make our processes more convenient for our clients and volunteers. Since the start of Covid-19, due to needing many more volunteers than in the past, we created an online volunteering form where volunteers can choose the dates and times that work best for them and submit that information without requiring any follow-up. For the West Island location, we created a different form; https://madacenter.com/mada-west-island-volunteer/ . This form does require a follow-up, so once the prospective volunteer has submitted the form, they will be contacted by someone on the MADA team to confirm their volunteering availability and schedule it with them. Rabbi Shmuel Pinson, our Volunteer and Event Coordinator, can also be contacted directly by email at rabbishmuel@madacenter.com.


SOURCE: MADA

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