The MADA non-profit community centre held a ceremony last week to officially open its new location at 6875 Décarie, near Vezina.
On hand were Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, Israeli Consul-General Ziv Nevo Kulman, former D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman, Côte des Neiges-NDG Mayor Russell Copeman and councillors Lionel Perez and Marvin Rotrand; and Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg and town Councillor Michael Goldwax.
According to an announcement from the organization, MADA, founded in 1993, is the largest food charity in Quebec and “helps people in need by providing the basic necessities of life while preserving their dignity and helping them become self-sufficient.”
The organization is well known for its Jewish holiday dinners at its location and many area synagogues.
Coderre praised the organization and even employed some Hebrew in his speech.
“It is always difficult and concerning to see that members of our community must resort to charitable organizations to meet their needs for food and clothing,” the mayor said. “Organizations like MADA play an important part in meeting those needs. You are an invaluable partner of the City of Montreal in this ongoing fight against poverty. You and your volunteers are there each day, each week, each Shabbat, each holiday, to touch the lives of those in need with dignity and gentle humanity.”
MADA board member Samuel Gewurz told the gathering that while the opening of the new office was being marked, “what we’re really celebrating is the capacity of MADA to reach out further to help more people.
“MADA has 1,600 volunteers and with this building, that can grow to more than 2,000, 2,500 volunteers, which is quite an achievement. But if you ask Rabbi [Chaim] Cohen (executive director of MADA), he’ll tell you quantity is one thing and quality is another. The essence of MADA is really the way you treat people, the dignity you give to those who receive, to make sure that nobody who comes with a hand asking, feels that they are needy, but instead feels important.”
Rabbi Cohen said MADA’s commitment is to “help people who need it the most.
“Our centre is rooted in Jewish tradition but we welcome, support and embrace all people, irrespective of religion, race or nationality,” he added. “Sadly, we are seeing an increase in the number of people who need our services. There are several reasons for this, including an aging population, a tough economy and challenges for recent immigrants. Poverty may seem invisible to some, but it is at our doorstep. We also see large numbers of people who are alone — cut off from their families and friends. Tragically, this group even includes Holocaust survivors. We need to help our community by providing an extended family. Much work remains to be done and we will not rest until we have helped everyone in Montreal in need.”