The Mile End Community Mission’s 8th Annual Thanksgiving Benefit Dinner is just a few days away. On Thursday, October 20th, the Mile End Mission invites the community to join them for cocktails beginning at 6pm and dinner beginning at 7pm. Live music, dancing, a live auction and raffle will complement the four-course Thanksgiving dinner to be served at Le Crystal Reception Hall in Ville St-Laurent.
Linda Hachey, the director of Mile End Mission, is excited for the upcoming edition of the annual fundraiser dinner. “This year marks our 25th anniversary,” she said. The Mission is pleased to announce the special guests who have confirmed their attendance: Bishop Mary Irwin-Gibson of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal; Reverend John Beach, a founding member of the Mile End Community Mission; Reverend Roslyn Macgregor, Executive Director of the Mission for 17 of its 25 years in service; and Luke Martin, the first President of the Mission’s Board of Directors.
The funds raised from the annual dinner will be used to support the lengthy list of programs that the Mission provides to disadvantaged families living in the Mile End and surrounding neighbourhoods. “We have a variety of programs,” said Hachey. “Food is a big program here. We offer free meals during the week: three free hot lunches, and two free hot breakfasts.”
The Mission runs a weekly food bank to support their members as well. “We give out about 10,000 bags of groceries a year,” Hachey said. “We’re not huge, but we do meet a lot of needs.” The Mission also hosts monthly dinners catered by local restaurants, and a monthly event in which a member prepares a special meal for other members in the community. Hachey explains that the shared meals and food bank rests at the heart of the success of their other programs: “We find that so many other things can be accomplished around food, fun, and fellowship.”
All of these group meals, alongside other member events such as music nights and group outings creates a positive community among the members. “It really helps to develop a sense of belonging and breaks the feelings of isolation,” said Hachey. “The outings create wonderful memories between members.”
The Mile End Community Mission helps all sorts of individuals and families living around the Mile End, some dealing with different sorts of mental and physical health problems. “We have such a varied group of people,” Hachey said. “There’s such a huge range of need, but what ties everyone together is the food, fun and fellowship. It really works; it’s quite amazing.” However, finding financial support necessary for all of these fantastic programs is sometimes challenging.
The Mission’s members are largely responsible for the success of all of the programs offered. “It’s really member driven,” said Hachey. “If it wasn’t for our members who actively take part in running all of the programs, we wouldn’t be able to function.” For example, their “leadership team” consists of twenty members who organize the food bank and frippery. “By the members, for the members.”
Much of the Mile End Mission’s financial support comes from community fundraising. “It’s a struggle, but every year we develop new initiatives,” said Hachey. The annual dinner plays a huge role in meeting the Mission’s financial targets. Plus, it’s a fun evening for those in attendance.
This year, the Mile End Community Mission hopes to raise $35,000 to support all of the wonderful events they organize for the community. Tickets are $200 per person and available online or by telephone. A tax receipt of $125 will be issued for each ticket.
When: Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 6pm.
Where: 5285 Henri Bourassa West, Ville St-Laurent at Le Crystal Reception Hall
By: Jillian Clark – totimes.ca