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October 2006

Supporting the Mada Kosher Cafeteria

The Mada Community Centre operates the only kosher soup kitchen in Quebec, offering meals and social activities to members of the Jewish community whose incomes are low. It serves more than 100,000 meals a year, 250 meals a day and, during Shabbat and the Jewish holidays, close to 25,000 meals. Mada, founded in 1993, also delivers more than 6,000 meals and food baskets every year and operates a free clothing and furniture bank. In addition, the centre offers a range of social and educational services. Clients using the food bank have access to Mada's soup kitchen, free clothing and furniture.

As the city councillor responsible for inter-community relations, I was approached by Mada supporters last spring with the cold hard facts that are many members of the Jewish community living below the poverty line in Côte Saint-Luc. In an effort to address this need, Mada offered to introduce its new mobile cafeteria via a program in our community. City council agreed to their very simple request: that they be able to set up, initially at one location. Since the end of May, Mada has been serving full course hot kosher meals in a social and friendly ambiance at the corner of Sunnybrook and Westover Sunday throughé.

Over the last few months I helped negotiate an arrangement whereby The Mada will be able to introduce its second Côte Saint-Luc location for its mobile cafeteria service in the parking lot of the Cavendish Mall, next to the Community Gardens off of Kellert Avenue. The expansion officially begins October 16, with a formal ceremony featuring community leaders to follow soon.
Last year Mada took over the operations of Le Mercaz in a bid to meet the growing food needs of Jewish families with low incomes. More than 17,000 people in Montreal's Jewish community live below the poverty line. For many, inadequate food and malnutrition are a disturbing reality. Access to kosher food is even more challenging.
The mobile cafeteria has seating for 22 people at a time. Meals are prepared at their headquarters in Côte des Neiges. Thus far, we are very pleased with the results. Each day, an average of 27 people are served. I wish to thank in particular my fellow Côte Saint-Luc City Councillor Steven Erdelyi for his support. The original location on Sunnybrook is in Councillor Erdelyi’s electoral District 4.