Mondays are Food Bank Day at On Rock Community Services, when founder Kim Reid and his crew serve needy families in some of Montreal’s most unlikely neighbourhoods.
“We’ve got families in Pointe-Claire, we’ve got them in Île Bizard, we’ve got them in Pierrefonds, DDO, it’s here,” explains Reid.
About 150 West Island families, representing more than 500 people, will get a food basket from the community organization.
“They basically say ‘I’ve got a choice between paying rent and eating,'” he told Global News.
“The landlord’s not going to let you cut back on rent, so you cut back on eating. We’ve had people come in and say ‘I haven’t eaten in 3 days’ – and that’s in the West Island.”
Reid and his team of volunteers have been feeding West Islanders for 20 years now.
“Whatever you’re going through, I’m not walking in your shoes,” he said.
“What my job is, is to help you feed your family.”
Giving back to the community is in his nature.
“This is like breathing for me. It’s no problem, I love it,” said Reid.
“I love my volunteers, I love the people who are around, no day is ever the same as the next, which I also love.”
Reid fell into his calling by accident.
He had been running a drop-in centre for troubled youth for 12 years when an 81-year-old woman asked to use the space for her food bank.
“We started to realize over time that she was coming less and less and we were the ones running the circus,” he said.
“One day, I looked at the guy working with me and I said ‘I think we run a food bank now.'”
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The group transferred from the original space to a 9,000 square-foot warehouse, where they also run a community cafe.
Mary Scott was forced to turn to On Rock’s services during her third round of cancer.
“It made us realize how quickly it can change and it can happen to anyone,” said Scott, explaining she had to pick between lifesaving medication or feeding her family.
“Kim from On Rock called me up and said ‘somebody gave me your name, we’ll be over this week’ and, for approximately six months, we received food baskets, which helped us defer the cost of groceries into medications and got us back on our feet.”
Scott now fundraises for On Rock; she’s one of 70 volunteers who keep the organization afloat.
“Together, we can make a difference and I truly believe that if we work together as a community in whatever capacity someone can be involved, then we make it happen because I can’t do it all,” said Reid.
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