The Welcome Collective first ever “Fun”Raiser
The Welcome Collective will be hosting their first e v e r “FUN”RAISER taking place on Thursday, October 4th at 7pm at Mandy’s Old Montreal (425 St. Nicolas).
After close to a year of good samaritans doing good deeds for the refugee and asylum-seeking families in Montreal, the board is proud to announce the launch of their non-profit organization– The Welcome Collective. Established in early 2018, the Welcome Collective works with individuals and communities across Montreal, assisting asylum seekers in gathering the essential items they need to live and to integrate into their new home. The board was created by a group of concerned citizens in the summer of 2017 as a pilot project originally called Acceuil Refugies de Montreal.
After getting involved and being paired up with an asylum-seeking family in November 2017, the Mandys Salad sisters got heavily involved in helping find welcome families, as well as using their social media platform to spread the word and gather donations and volunteers. With the help of the YMCA social workers, several local philanthropic foundations, lawyers, and other committed board members, the Welcome Collective is offering a helping hand to the city’s most vulnerable newcomers.
Asylum seekers often arrive in Canada with little or no possessions and can experience difficulties when attempting to access social services.The Welcome Collective works with its partners, the YMCA and the Trottier Family Foundation, as well as several local community organizations, to prioritize vulnerable newcomers and form their “Welcome Groups”. A Welcome Group can be a family, friend group, colleagues, or even a single individual. Each group is paired with a newcomer family to help them gather information about local culture, social assistance, and essential items that they need for their new home such as; furniture, kitchen items, and clothes, to name but a few.
The idea of the collective first came to light in the summer of 2017 when local doctors noticed an influx of asylumseeking women giving birth in Montreal hospitals and going back to empty apartments with their newborns, and quite often with a brood of other children. A pilot project was formed to help find donations for these vulnerable women and children. As explained by Mandy Wolfe “After meeting a few families on paired up missions, we were introduced to dozens more families, kids, single moms, pregnant women telling us their stories, their situation, what they needed most, everyday essentials like mattresses, diapers, strollers, cutlery, winter jackets, boots! We saw them walking outside in t-shirts and flip flops in 15 degree weather.
We took down their information and rented trucks, assembled volunteer drivers and movers, announced the urgency of the situation over our restaurant’s social media platforms, and collected hundreds of donations that we amassed in our various locations over the holiday season. Our goal was to make sure that everyone we had met was taken care of in terms of their basic needs when they moved out of the shelter and into their own apartments. A handful of them are still friends of ours, we have them over for dinner and vice versa.
Some are even employed full time with us at our restaurant! “
To date, The Welcome Collective has helped over 150 families feel at home in their new communities in Montreal. Their purpose comes from the people they help.“The underlying mission was so heartwarming and meaningful to us – we felt that we had been exposed to this huge movement of people both wanting to help out, and in desperate need of help.We couldn’t just donate once and walk away, and that’s how The Welcome Collective was formed.”
– Rebecca Wolfe.