The SNJM’s Are Once Again Involved with Helping People Experiencing Homelessness

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The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) are once again helping people who are experiencing homelessness. This time, their action takes the form of filling gift bags that will be distributed at the “Abri de la Rive-Sud” and the “Halte du coin”.

Mrs. Lucie Latulippe, director of the Abri de la Rive-Sud.

During a small conference on November 16 at Maison Jésus-Marie (MJM), Lucie Latulippe, director of the organization, gave a brief overview of the situation of homelessness which now affects cities of all sizes in Quebec. This phenomenon is widespread throughout the world.

According to her, several factors explain the resurgence of homelessness, including the housing crisis, inflation; and of course, the pandemic. This organization alone, identified as a transitional housing resource with 30 places, receives 430 requests per month! The organization “Halte du coin”, an emergency daily resource with 65 places, is obliged to refuse about twenty requests per day!

In addition to the enormous need for lodging and shelter, Ms. Latulippe pointed out that prejudice against homeless people is still very strong. The idea of this gift bag project, which would include numerous personal hygiene items and small treats, was received as a blessing by the director of the “Abri de la Rive-Sud”. This gesture brings comfort and hope to people experiencing homelessness. It also helps them to feel good about themselves.

For Marianne Daudelin, the person responsible for the external mission, activities and community services at MJM, the idea of transforming last year’s project into a gift bag operation was a natural one. “The Sisters were already aware of this social injustice and were very motivated to support people experiencing homelessness.” The challenge was to find a way to simplify the operation so that all residents could participate despite their advanced age. With this in mind, she decided on the gift bag idea.

A call was therefore launched to all the SNJM Sisters in Quebec, to the staff members of the Quebec and MJM administration and to the affiliates, to participate enthusiastically in this operation which ended on December 2nd. The gift bags were then given to Mrs. Latulippe who brought them directly to the homeless people of the “Abri de la Rive-Sud” and the “Halte du coin”.

Marianne Daudelin and Lucie Latulippe during the conference given at Maison Jésus-Marie.

A few guidelines were suggested for filling individual gift bags

Each gift bag has a value of $50. You can put together personal hygiene items: shampoo or the 2-in-1 (with conditioner), shower gel or soap, deodorant, hairbrush or comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, lip balm. For women, we suggest skin care products (lotion, body or hand cream, exfoliating mask, lipstick, mascara, nail polish, jewelry). For men, we suggest razors, shaving gel or foam and aftershave lotion (note that young people like the brands “Axe” and “Dove Men”). Socks or warm socks can complete your bag with little treats: candy, chocolates (without nuts), gift card ($10) to the grocery store, pharmacy or Tim Horton’s, small notebook and pen.

Another suggestion was made to add a personal touch: Each person was invited to drop off a greeting card with words of encouragement and a friendly (non-religious) message.

The deadline was December 2 to bring the gift bags to Maison Jésus-Marie.

Photo credit: Sr. Suzanne Brault