Collaboration is the key word for the community sector. Agencies can only be as effective with the few resources they have because they know how to work together and seize opportunities to join forces with other partners. Although agencies have never experienced a crisis on this level, many conditions were already in place for them to face the biggest emergency food assistance crisis that Greater Montreal has ever seen.
Some agencies had to cancel their activities, yet they couldn’t simply lock their doors to let the storm pass. Everyone rolled up their sleeves—individually and collectively—to meet needs. They could also rely on the Emergency Fund for support.
Réseau alimentaire de l’Est de Montréal
In light of growing and urgent food needs, the Réseau alimentaire de l’Est de Montréal is creating a bridge between food security agencies in the territory and Fleury Michon, a company that produces frozen meals for airlines. A food supply network has been created in 9 neighbourhoods and 1 municipality in the east end of the island: Rivière-des-Prairies, Pointe-aux-Trembles, Montréal-Est, Saint-Michel, Saint-Léonard, Anjou, Mercier-Est, Mercier-Ouest, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie.
Refrigerated trucks sent out by Bouffe-Action de Rosemont and La Cantine pour tous transport meals from the company to various drop-off points for agencies.
These meals are distributed either as food baskets given out at agencies or through new home delivery services to 6,500 people. About forty agencies are involved.
Table itinérance Rive-Sud
Given the steep rise in the homeless at Longueuil Metro Station from five to thirty people after the business closures, the Table itinérance Rive-Sud, CISSS de la Montérégie-Centre, CISSS de la Montérégie-Est, and City of Longueuil had to find solutions to provide these clients left to fend for themselves with a safe place to eat, wash, talk to someone, and get reassurance.
A motel has been converted into a temporary shelter that can accommodate about 40 homeless people who have contracted COVID-19 or are waiting for a test result. A day centre has been set up in a church. A shuttle service run by the Réseau de transport de Longueuil (RTL) takes homeless people to these places from the metro station.
Community police and four homelessness resources are providing a presence at the metro and throughout the territory. These resources include Le Repas du Passant, Macadam Sud, Hébergement La Casa Bernard-Hubert and Abri de la Rive-Sud.