Chez Doris celebrated the holidays at LaSalle College on Tuesday during its annual Christmas Party for vulnerable and homeless women.
“We try to create really joyous occasions for all of our clients,” said Chez Doris executive director Marina Boulos-Winton.
LaSalle College provided a free space for the event and partnered with Le Blumenthal restaurant to offer a gourmet lunch for close to 300 women — many of them dressed up for the occasion, Boulos-Winton said.
“Many of the women have cut ties with their families, so they consider us or other women who come to Chez Doris their family.”
Montreal police officers wearing Christmas-themed aprons over their uniforms also lent a helping hand to serve the hundreds of meals.
The party is an opportunity for women of diverse backgrounds and cultures to celebrate the holidays together, Boulos-Winton said.
“It’s amazing to see the women smiling, laughing, dancing.”
An anonymous donation allowed the organization to purchase 300 personalized gifts, which were given to each woman during the party.
“It’s rewarding to see the support we get from the community,” Boulos-Winton said, adding that “for some, it’ll be their only gift of the season.”
The number of women who visit Chez Doris, which is a non-profit organization that offers daytime shelter to women in need, seven days a week, has increased in recent months, according to the organization.
Chez Doris is gearing to open a 26-apartment residential space and a 22-bed emergency shelter.
— With files from Global News’ Kwabena Oduro.