On the last Sunday of February, students and parents from Selwyn House School served over 250 guests a hearty hot lunch in Christ Church Cathedral’s Fulford Hall. It’s been a tradition over the past number of years for students and parents from local private schools to get involved with the Last-Sunday-of-the-Month lunch program. The involvement of younger people in the program has been a wonderful way to bring new communities together and raise awareness about the issue surrounding homelessness in Montreal.
By Olivia Laidlaw
For the past 30 years, the Last-Sunday-of-the-Month lunch has fulfilled one of Christ Church Cathedral’s most important Christian values: feeding Montreal’s less fortunate. Started by Marjorie Sharp, and continued by Adrian King-Edwards, the lunch program has grown and now can feed over 200 people, thanks to the help of local students and parents in the community.
For years, Carol Manning, Head of Selwyn House middle school, has organized student-parent volunteers to serve lunches and engage with downtown Montreal’s vulnerable community. About eight student-parent teams come out every month and are assigned to each table in pairs to ensure all guests are taken care of and satisfied.
Students, rather than seeing this as an obligation, understand the bigger picture of their contribution to the program. Grade 8 student, Matthew Homa explains how important it is for kids his age to get out and volunteer. “We are old enough now to understand the issues faced by Montreal’s homeless people. So, since we’re aware, it should be our duty to do something about it and take action,” he says.
Volunteering Good for the Mind and Soul, Research Says
It’s no secret that volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. But it can also benefit you and your family as much as the cause you choose to help. Research suggests that volunteers tend to possess a greater sense of achievement and motivation, due to their willingness to help and dedication to making a difference.
The benefits of the students’ involvement in the program go beyond time/labour contributions. Communities gain a generation of motivated young people who care about helping and about making life a little better in their towns or neighbourhoods.
Also, when youth volunteer, adults do as well, which often results in a lifelong commitment. For instance, next month’s lunch is being donated by three Selwyn House families who served earlier this year and who decided to get together to donate a meal. These parents will be volunteering without their respective sons, however, since all three have been chosen to represent the school at the Regional science fair scheduled to begin on the same day the lunch is taking place.
How does Matthew feel about spending a couple hours volunteering on a rainy Sunday afternoon?
“It feels pretty great, actually!,” he says with a smile. “It’s nice to know you’re making a difference, no matter how big or small.”
Olivia Laidlaw is currently completing her diploma in public relations and communications management at McGill University.
Our sincere thanks to Selwyn House volunteers Aiden Cohen and Jennifer Radowitz; Dean and Denis Farias; Matthew Homa and Anna Romano; Milhalis Koulouris and Elena Koutsos-Koulouris; Dean and Monte Perlman; Sean and Filomena Vinh; Camden and Derek Widgington.
Help us ensure our Social Services Society can continue its good works
Our Social Services Society and Social Justice Action Groups all work out of the Cathedral building, which is in need of urgent repairs. Your donation will help pay for repairs to the exterior and to the roof and allow us to upgrade the electrical, heating and lighting systems. Of the proceeds of the Campaign, $250,000 will go to ensure the continuity of our century-old Social Service Society programs. To donate to the campaign, please click here.
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