Maison du Père: serving the homeless fraternally
On Holy Thursday, April 18, Maison du Père held its Annual Fundraising Ball for the homeless men who seek shelter there.
Maison du Père supports homeless men aged 25 and above. For 35 years, it was managed by Trinitarians Fathers. The name Maison du Père was suggested by the first lodgers, a dozen of “tramps”. Père Guy Laforte would welcome them on Saint-André Street every night in a house he had renovated.”
Fifty years have gone by, but Maison du Père still offers a roof, meals, hygiene and health care facilities, administrative and social life support, reintegration into society programs, housing support and even more (community work, community service order, chaplaincy, palliative care, funeral services and a second-hand clothes shop).
The Maison du Père’s Foundation has been holding each spring, since 2008, a fundraising ball to gather business people from different communities. This event helps raise money to develop new services for the users’ needs. “As it reaches 50 years of existence, projects to help the homeless better integrate abound at Maison du Père, and we are proud! Donors make a REAL difference for the homeless, and it infuses us with courage,” explains Me Louis Richer, chairman of the board of the foundation.
In the Parquet of the stunning Jacques Parizeau building, 30 tables dressed in a sumptuous setting awaited some 350 guests to a gourmet menu and a silent auction. “We often say that every gesture counts: it has become a cliché, but it is still true and important,” reminded them actor and emcee Guy Jodoin on that evening. He had recently visited Maison du Père and had been very impressed with the “hive of activity” he saw. About 200 regular and 400 part-time volunteers offer their help to the homeless in so many ways. He invited everyone to go and to see for themselves the many quality-driven projects offered by this “Father’s Castle”. “Giving is good, but taking the time to visit is also important!”
Among the many personalities who attended this event (such as Danielle McCann, Minister of Health and Social Services), was the Most Reverend Christian Lépine, Archbishop of Montreal, who said grace before the meal. On this Holy Thursday, his presence seemed important: “At Maison du Père, the feet of the homeless are being washed.” It is fortunate that, as Jesus would have done, the needs of the homeless are met in a humble way with friendliness.” The Archdiocese of Montreal had its own table to support the many projects, showing the importance of being present for the most destitute. Accueil Bonneau and some of its volunteers also attended the event.
François Boissy, chairman and chief executive officer, reminded the guests that through donors and volunteers more than 2000 men have benefited from the support and expertise of Maison du Père in 2018: “They know how to take care of the homeless elderly through efficient residential stability programs offering support and local health services.” Maison du Père was short-listed for the Prix de l’Excellence du Réseau de santé et des services sociaux!
This ball was held under the spirit of generosity. This location should remain a “place where people can take care of other people with friendliness”, concluded Archbishop Lépine.
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