Marché Bon Accueil
Have you heard of Marché Bon Accueil?
Something wonderful and quite unique is taking place at Welcome Hall Mission’s multiservice centre in southwest Montréal. Drawing on over 125 years of welcome and history, we have found a way to make our food assistance program—the largest program providing direct assistance to the public—more innovative and efficient.
Welcome Hall Mission’s clients—Montrealers living below the poverty level—now have a new way to feed themselves while retaining their dignity and sense of autonomy. A unique concept in Quebec and all of Canada, Marché Bon Accueil provides some 3,000 low-income individuals with food assistance each week.
“We wanted to completely rethink how we serve our clients. No one wants to have to rely on a food bank, but life can take an unexpected turn. That’s why we decided to set up our food bank like a neighbourhood grocery store.” – Samuel Watts, Welcome Hall Mission’s CEO and Executive Director
How does it work?
At Marché Bon Accueil, clients can now do their food shopping just like everyone else, choosing the food items they and their family members enjoy eating. The process is simple: clients must make an appointment and present the membership card they received when they registered for the program. Admissibility is based on household income. The card identifies the client and indicates the size of their family, which determines the amount of free food they may take.
Pushing a grocery cart around the store, the clients browse the selection on the shelves and in the refrigerators and freezers. Marché Bon Accueil fills its store using donations by various partners. We are pleased to offer fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, frozen meat and other healthy foods, to help families eat nutritious meals and be healthy! When they are done shopping, clients head to the cash register, where a volunteer checks the amount of food they are permitted to take, according to the size of their household. The clients also get help bagging their food to take home.
“It’s preferable to be able to choose what you want. It helps us eat healthy.” – A Marché Bon Accueil client
“I plan to continue being a member of this big family for many years to come. For the moment, it’s as a client, but someday it will be as a volunteer or donor.” -Vladimir Yesin, Welcome Hall Mission client
Marché Bon Accueil… More than a grocery store!
By becoming a Marché Bon Accueil member, our clients get access to a host of additional resources:
- Jim Lund Dental Clinic (eligibility criteria: must be a resident of Montréal and not receive social assistance, since dental care is already free for social assistance recipients).
- Income tax clinic (January to April)
- Legal clinic
- Referrals according to each person’s situation
Did you know…?
- 2,300 to 3,200 Montrealers are able to eat healthy each week thanks to food donated to Marché Bon Accueil.
- Nearly one million kilograms of food are distributed each year.
- 25% of the food is fresh.
- 53% of the food is perishable.
- 22% of the food is non-perishable.
Marché Bon Accueil in the News
People are saying great things about Marché Bon Accueil! Here are links to articles on Welcome Hall Mission’s innovative new project:
Journal Métro: Une banque alimentaire améliorée dans Saint-Henri
Behind the Scenes
We use refrigerated trucks to stock the Marché Bon Accueil. Our fleet of trucks travel throughout the Greater Montréal area, collecting food staples from our various partners. The food is then stored in one of our two warehouses, one of which is refrigerated. Maintaining the cold chain ensures that we provide the people we help with quality food items.
Marché Bon Accueil runs smoothly thanks to the invaluable contribution of dozens of volunteers who help us with the different tasks involved. Several of the market’s clients also volunteer! Want to get involved? Simply fill out a Welcome Hall Mission volunteer form.
Welcome Hall Mission trains its Education and Employability program participants by having them help run the market. This develops their self-reliance, as well as social and professional skills.
Welcome Mission Hall is pleased to work with various partners to collect the food its clients need. There is enough food in Montréal to feed the entire population! Let’s work together to help every Montrealer eat healthy and eat well, every day!