March 29, 2017 9:21 pm

Welcome Hall Mission marks 125 years in the community

Supporters celebrate 125 year of the Welcome Hall Mission, Wednesday March 29, 2017.

Global News/Marc Latendresse
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For 125 years, the Welcome Hall Mission has been helping the Montreal community.

The mission began as a soup kitchen for homeless men in 1892.

Since those beginnings, the mission has seen the community through two world wars, the depression and decades of financial fluctuations in the economy.

On Wednesday, more than 100 people gathered at the mission’s St-Henri headquarters to remember the past and to take stock of the role it plays in the present.

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“You see, there are so many families – about 200,000 – that are just below the poverty line and it is important that we help them out,” Welcome Hall Mission’s executive director, Sam Watts, told Global News Wednesday.

The mission offers a range of services, including its food bank, after-school program, social housing and a dental clinic.

The headquarters also houses a boutique. The proceeds go to supporting a skill-building program that helps get people into the workforce.

The shift in clients is one that the mission embraces.

“Shelters are used to responding to problems but if we can asses the landscape and help before there is a major problem, then that leads to progress,” Watts said.

The St-Henri building will soon be opening an onsite depanneur as part of their latest efforts to create a sustainable community for what Watts calls the working poor.

 

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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