As you most likely know, we use food as a vehicle to break social and economic isolation between generations and cultures. It is creatively and collaboratively that we work to strengthen and nourish our local community with novel approaches to active youth engagement, urban food systems, food security, and community care.
This year, in addition to preparing and delivering close to 22,000 home-cooked meals, we welcomed hundreds and hundreds of amazing volunteers. Working with them, we were pleased as punch to significantly increase our positive impact in the community throughout all of our activities and programs, and especially proud of the following new initiatives:
- our urban/rural farm exchange,
- garden and kitchen workshops for youth and Montrealers living with low-income,
- greening our building and its periphery,
- increasing the nutritional value of our meals, and
- growing our social-enterprise activities.
If you’ve ever set foot in our building at 111 Roy East, you’re likely aware that the Roulant is a people place. You’ve also probably noticed that program descriptions and statistics don’t quite manage to communicate the magic and complexity of our work.
For example: one of our core principles of engagement is treating people as gifts.
Simply put, it means appreciating and celebrating everyone as a whole person, one that is imbued with many dimensions. No matter how you cut it, when we give our community members (or our friends, or our loved ones) space to flourish, they feed our vibrancy, our capacity to innovate, and our overall effectiveness. In this light, the boundary between giving and receiving becomes increasingly blurred.
This blurring is but a small piece of why we were wonderfully proud to challenge ourselves this year to work in a way that was evermore effective, inclusive, and loving.
Take our annual client holiday brunch which we held last Thursday. Ostensibly the event is specifically created for our clients’ enjoyment, and without a shadow of a doubt, enjoy it they did. We even broke attendance records, with just about 35 clients coming out to eat and laugh with us. But what’s just as wonderful is that staff and volunteers had an equally good time at the event.
Who the activity benefited the most is hard to tell. Ultimately it doesn’t matter, and that’s exactly the point. It’s what Rennie, a long-term friend of the Roulant, calls the “giving field“.
That blurred line between giving and receiving is from where the magic sprouts forth. To our thousands of volunteers, small moments like the client brunch define the Roulant as a unique place where they’ve been given a chance to flourish and learn to lead with bravery, gentleness, and decency. For our clients who receive the meals that our volunteers cook and deliver, the support they receive with each visit and each meal helps them live with dignity in the comfort of their own home.
When we stop to reflect, as we naturally do near the end of a wonderful year, for all the members of our community -clients, donors, volunteers, and staff alike- Santropol Roulant is a place through which to discover that we can make a powerful difference in the world around us when we work together.
It’s to keep this magic alive that we invite you today to make a donation to support the Roulant.
With warmth and gratitude,
The gang at the Roulant