This Carrefour d’alimentation et de partage (CAP) provides school supplies for children from low-income families. Among other things … because this social services organization makes life easier for lots of folk in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district.
August 18th was a very busy day at CAP Saint-Barnabé in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. All day long, the hall of the former Saint-Barnabé church on Adam Street rang with peals of comments from over 400 children and their parents. They had come to buy the notebooks, school bags, pencils, lunch boxes and backpacks needed for the school year. “Calculators and USB keys were gone fast!” said Emmanuelle Tassé, funding officer for the organization. So did everything else!
Schools require supplies that parents are responsible for buying. The bill adds up quickly. To relieve families struggling with a tight budget, CAP Saint-Barnabé organizes a fundraising event at the start of every school year. Port of Montreal employees have taken part in it for the last two years.
CAP Saint-Barnabé is one of the organizations supported by the Port of Montreal under its community investment policy.
Respect and dignity for starters
Located at the corner of Adam and Bennett Streets, CAP Saint-Barnabé has become an important base for many people in the district. Its purpose is clear: support the community in the fight against poverty and improve the quality of life of residents of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. To achieve this, the CAP team has rolled out a full range of services to help families, children, single people, homeless people and people with psychological problems Their approach is driven by the concepts of respect and dignity of the individual.
The day centre generously opens its doors to all and invites people in to have a coffee, sit down and chat. Every day, 150 people drop by to find company … and escape their loneliness.
Chef and food production coordinator Priscille Loewenguth and her army of volunteers work hard in the kitchen. Every week, Priscille receives a delivery of food from Moison Montreal. At that point she draws on her wealth of inventiveness to create the menu of the week. They manage to provide 150 meals a night and distribute 700 frozen meals a week to members of the food bank. The cost of the food bank membership card is $3 per year.
In the evening, the shelter welcomes the homeless, who in addition to a bed, find supper, breakfast and a laundry service for their clothes.
In the vicinity of Saint-Barnabé church, the CAP runs three social housing residences for people at risk of homelessness, set up to help them regain control over their lives and get organized.
Bazaar and community grocery store
That’s already a lot, but there’s more! At CAP Saint-Barnabé, you will also find le Bazar, a kind of general store with very low prices that provides the necessities to settle into a home and to dress the family. Right beside it, the community grocery store offers non-perishables at wholesale prices: spices, cereals, coffee, canned goods, pasta, rice, crackers, peanut butter, juice, sauces, etc.
What you find at this CAP above and beyond material assistance is a team of people determined to improve the quality of life of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve residents. They are dynamic and you immediately see how much they enjoy their work. Like Emmanuelle Tassé, who is totally dedicated to the CAP’s development because she believes in it.
You can contribute
This determined woman is always on the lookout for funding and partners. “In Montreal, the number of people who need a hand is growing,” said Emmanuelle. “We’re not providing it. You see, right now there’s an urgent need for a large freezer. A refrigerated truck would also be welcome to pick up more perishable foods. And we are chronically short of razors, shaving cream, deodorants, earplugs and laundry detergent.”
Outside, on Bennett Street, there is a bell where everyone can drop off donations of all kinds.
To maximize its cash flow, the CAP leases offices and the large hall of the former Saint-Barnabé church, which can seat 320 people.
The Port of Montreal is proud to do its part to keep CAP Saint-Barnabé such a gutsy organization with so much heart so that it will long shine in the district, like a lighthouse.