With the warmer weather on its last legs, I wanted to express my gratitude for your support of Welcome Hall Mission this season. As you know, the heat can be unforgiving in Montreal. We can’t thank you enough for providing dignity, compassion and connections to life-changing services during the summer. 

In this newsletter, we’ll also recap events from the last few months and you’ll hear more about Compassion Pathways—our newest pilot program. Plus, you’ll read Vicky’s inspiring story. She struggled with borderline personality disorder and addiction, but after she entered the Cœur à sœur program, she started healing and never looked back!

We love being able to share news like this with you. So that you feel connected to all the positive change and progress that your generosity helps make possible for our community! 

However you support the Mission, your contributions bring light into the lives of those who need it most. And believe me when I say: every little bit counts and what you’re doing really matters. 

With deepest gratitude,

Sam Watts

CEO/Executive Director

Vicky's Journey of Addiction, Survival, and Hope

If you have a fire in your house and you put the fire out, you have solved that problem. But if the fire is being caused by an electrical issue, it always comes back. ‑ Vicky

Uncovering the reasons behind substance use often begins with a deeper understanding of one’s mental health. At 41 years old, Vicky now sees her addiction as an electrical problem, a hidden complication in the wiring of her brain. 

Vicky struggled with borderline personality disorder for as long as she can remember. Despite her condition, she tried to create the life she wanted. After graduating, she pursued a career in politics—eventually working for the Liberal party. Plus, she’s a mom with two wonderful kids.

And yet, Vicky’s disorder lurked behind the scenes. The only way she knew how to cope was through alcohol and drugs, but that led her down a difficult path. 

Within a few years, she was in deep—caught in a downward spiral of drugs, prostitution, and dangerous living situations. She was robbed, taken advantage of and abused. Eventually, she ended up on the streets.  

Like so many people, Vicky had to reach rock bottom before change came…

And that pivotal moment arrived the day she survived an almost fatal overdose.

When she was released from the hospital, she was referred to our Cœur à sœur program.

The program provided a transitional studio apartment and helped her address her mental health problems and dependence issues—hand-in-hand! A caseworker worked closely with her to ensure she attended appointments and weekly workshops that helped her look for work and apply for benefits. 

But the secret to Vicky’s success? This time, she was all in. “I gave myself the task of working on myself 40 hours per week, the same as you would with a job,” she said. 

Today, things are falling into place. Not only has she been sober for 2 years, her children are living with her and she’s genuinely happy. She found an apartment right down the street from the Mission and she has subsidized day care for her youngest son, which has made balancing life and work much easier. 

Vicky can’t wait to keep moving forward and encourages other women in similar situations to seek help and start working on themselves. Donors like you helped her get her life back on track and were the helping hand of love she needed in her darkest time. And we couldn’t be more grateful to you. 

Thank you for supporting women like Vicky—your generosity truly changes lives!  

We have been blown away by the overwhelming response to our new pilot program, Compassion Pathways. We’re truly humbled by your commitment to improving the lives of elderly Montrealers like Madeleine. 

If you read her story, you know it’s far too easy for seniors like her to go unseen and feel forgotten. When the heat dome hit during the first summer of the pandemic, Madeleine felt sick and stopped eating, going several days without seeing anyone. If it weren’t for her neighbour who connected her to our food delivery service—who knows how this story would’ve ended.  

That’s why this program is so important. Together, we’re stepping in to provide a vital piece of community and connection to seniors! Helping them access health care, important services and social groups will prevent many medical emergencies and alleviate isolation and loneliness.

Our hope is for Compassion Pathways to become a core offering at Welcome Hall Mission. With your continued support over the next 3 years, we can ensure that this program becomes a permanent fixture, meeting the evolving needs of our community. 

Why This New Montrealer Gives Back

Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jonathan Mafuka entered the world just before two civil wars. At just 22, Jonathan fled to America before finally seeking refugee status in Canada in 2017.  

When Jonathan was issued a temporary work visa, he immediately started working two jobs to pay for his small apartment, living expenses, and an immigration lawyer, all the while sending home money to his mother. 

Today, Jonathan works at a brewery and then moonlights as a cleaner, except when he’s volunteering in the kitchen of the Macaulay Pavilion. 

Jonathan says that people working in our kitchen are amazing human beings. They welcome the clients with a smile, treat them with respect and let them know that whatever they are going through, they are loved. By extension, he feels that same love and acceptance while volunteering. Giving back to the community is something Jonathan learned early on from his mother.

Ultimately, Jonathan hopes to be granted Canadian citizenship, enroll in a cooking school, work in or own a restaurant and get married and start a family. 

We are so grateful for Jonathan, and volunteers like him, at the Mission. 

If we want to change the world, we need to start by helping those in need in our immediate community. ‑ Jonathan