Montreal's senior monthly since 1986

Feb '10

Columns

With children, love is ground zero for change

Love makes all the difference.

Chocolate hearts and lingerie! Let me dispel the notion that February is mainly for lovers! Some of us may recall an incident when we felt ignored, unloved or even unwanted. As children, there may have been nights when we went to sleep without the words “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bugs bite.” There may have been school mates who did not want to play with us because they perceived us as different.

Teacher, Rebecca Blinik and her students during Cook It Up

Too many sad days and lonely nights occur for children and teenagers who do not receive a kind word or an affectionate hug from family or friends. Alternately, what a difference your concern and compassion – and three little words: “I love you” – can make in their lives and your own. To make matters worse, some Montreal children go to sleep hungry and arrive at school hungry. Their parents may face financial or emotional crises. As a result, the children’s needs are forgotten and teachers may find them lethargic, unreceptive or asleep at their desks. Some teachers even bring snacks for them at times, so they welcome Generations Foundation’s role to alleviate this situation. In one high school, the principal saw a student alone in the corner at recess and asked: “Are you hungry?” The student admitted sadly: “Yes, sir, I am.” He had eaten his snack for breakfast.

At cooking classes, the students will eat their cooked creation before heading home because there is no home-cooked supper or there isn’t enough for the whole family.

Generations maintains that with proper care and nourishment, these students will not only survive, they will thrive. Compassionate people and their love of children can help Generations do what must be done each day throughout the school year: To be there with nutritious breakfasts, hot meals and quality snacks. Beyond the school year, we sponsor hundreds of school-age children to experience summer camp in the country.

With your love and understanding, we can see the promise of tomorrow. Think of those three little words and say them: “I love you!”

P.S. Good news! Just in! We want to congratulate Dominic, a “Cook it Up” student, for his new position as a part-time cook at Loblaws.

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All generations prepare for the holiday season

December, 2009

The realities of our new economic situation mean food and fuel prices are constantly increasing, there is a rise in the number of children needing basic necessities, and a proportional rise in requests for aid. Generations Foundation staff and volunteers are poised to provide cheer – today, tomorrow and especially at Christmas.

Adrian, Natalie and Westmount High students at last month’s Holiday Benefit Breakfast at Buffet La Stanza

We shop carefully to maximize purchasing power. We watch for sales so that we can fill our orders for breakfast, lunch and snacks to over 6,500 children in 72 schools and learning centres. This helps families on fixed incomes who worry about the next meal, about whether or not they will have enough money to pay the rent, and about finding the resources to buy winter clothing for their children. Our phones are ringing off the hook with requests for turkeys. Meanwhile, volunteers do an amazing job of planning Christmas lunch at the schools, and donors have supplied us with four new freezers and a forklift to hoist items to the second floor.

We welcome donations of food items to ensure our pantry is well stocked with such holiday items as turkeys, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, vegetables, fruit, meats, Christmas cakes and egg nog as well as canned salmon, tuna, pasta, sauces and juice.

Volunteers have transformed our boardroom into Santa’s workshop to ensure there are plenty of toys to go around. Volunteers have been busy wrapping them for delivery to schools and other learning centres, churches and synagogues. They also help wrap food baskets.

Board members and police officers deliver these baskets to needy families and group homes for children who might not otherwise receive any gifts. American Women held a gathering at our location to bring lovely gifts for intellectually and physically challenged children.

Lower Canada College students prepared our food orders for delivery to the schools we serve. The students also folded letters and stuffed envelopes for our winter campaign.

Throughout the year, board members and entrepreneurs pitch in to donate their time and expertise in fundraising projects.

LCC student volunteers wrap toys

Our knitters creatively outdo each other with beautiful hand-made knitted clothing and lap blankets to keep the children warm. We are grateful to all of you. Adrian and I cannot wait to see the children’s smiles and excitement when we visit the schools and centres.

What is needed most at this time is to satisfy hunger, to fill hearts and minds with joy, hope and encouragement for the future.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

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More than food on the menu at holiday benefit breakfast

On Friday, November 27, the La Stanza Buffet & Grill Restaurant in St. Leonard will host the Generations Foundation Holiday Benefit Breakfast. La Stanza staff will arrive at 4am to prepare the buffet. When 92.5 The Q begins its broadcast at 5:30am, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee will be wafting through the air.

Volunteers from high schools and CEGEPs, board members, friends and acquaintances play an integral role in this labour of love for children. They will don their Generations aprons and be ready when the doors open at 6:30 am. When you walk in the door, Adrian and I will be delighted to meet and greet you, along with our team of volunteers and an assortment of 50 brunch delectables.

We are very thankful to La Stanza owner Peter Bakos and his family for their generosity and support over the years. They have helped to shape the lives of precious children and their families by helping us raise $1,195 million dollars over the last decade.

Global Quebec’s This Morning Live, terminated over a year ago, contributed to Generations Foundation’s success. The show was broadcast live on location at 21 La Stanza breakfasts. The loss of This Morning Live and what it did for us tugs at my heart. Many Global TV personalities played a role in shaping Generations Foundation including the Asper family, Maureen Rogers, Jamie Orchard, Andrew Peplowski, Tracey McKee, Richard Dagenais and Ken Bodanis.

Adrian and Natalie Bercovici with the group from ING, a big supporter

Last year, Corus Québec’s 92.5 The Q and AM940 stepped up to the plate. Aaron Rand, Ken Connors or Natasha Hall will host our November breakfast live on location.

Bring your autograph book. We are often treated to visits by surprise guests. At recent breakfasts we were fortunate to have our pictures taken with former Expos Ron Piché and Denis Boucher as well as the Club de hockey junior de Montréal. Thanks to Hasbro, we will have many toys to give out to children who attend. We encourage everyone to come and enjoy the festivities.

Tickets are $10, and proceeds from the event will support Generations Foundation’s breakfast, lunch, and snack programs for needy kids.

If you can’t attend the breakfast but would like to contribute, you can mail in a donation to Generations Foundation, C.P. Elysée 89023, Laval QC H7W 5K1.

La Stanza Buffet & Grill Restaurant is at 6878 Jean Talon E. in St. Leo­nard. The breakfast runs from 6:30 to 10 am. Tickets are available at the door.

*** To reserve a large table, or for more information, call 514-933-8585.

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Angels and bagels for Generations

October, 2009

St.Viateur’s Back-to-School Bagel-O-Thon, Thursday, September 10, was the place to be.

Q 92.5 radio broadcasted live with Natasha Hall. Best Buy donated five laptops to five lucky students. We thank Nicolo Morena, Johnny Azzue, their sponsors and their customers. The entire Morena clan enjoyed breakfast. Rima Morena gave birth shortly after. Blame it on the sesame bagels.

Queen of Angels Academy, an all girls school, established by the Sisters of Sainte Anne, celebrated their 50th Anniversary on September 14 with opening ceremonies, a tea, candle lighting and speeches by dignitaries such as Kathleen Weil, Minister of Justice. Shortly after, BBQs were fired up to sizzle hamburgers, hot dogs and corn, The BBQ food sales helped enormously to bolster Generations food programs.

L to R: Adrian Bercovici, Helen Fotopoulos, Borough Mayor, Plateau District, Natalie Bercovici and Pierre Fréchette, City Counselor

Chairperson, Bernadette Grzelak, her committee, along with her family, have mastered the art of a BBQ Party. Principal Sister Joanne Dion, Dominic Varvaro, Nadya Kruk, faculty, staff, parents, students and Alumnae of QAA have much to be proud of. Thank you for allowing Generations to join your “family” in celebrating your golden anniversary.

Generations thanks the management and staff of Q 92.5 and AM 940, who pitched softball for charity throughout the summer at Trudeau Park. Our thanks to corporate sponsors Leeza Distribution, Traffic Tech, Via Rail, 21st Century Food and individual listeners from the Riverside Friendship League who rallied to help children in need.

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Eat a bagel and feed a child

“My son came home a changed kid with new confidence in himself that I have never seen. – Nancy.”

After a wonderful summer of camp adventures, the children and counsellors are home, tanned and rejuvenated. They cannot wait to go back – for many, camp is a home away from home. Since 2000, Generat ions Foundation has sponsored 2,700 children to go to summer camp. Thank you to everyone who made it possible for all those kids to have a summer they may not otherwise have been able to experience.

Now, a new school year has begun. Students are finding their way around, being taught by new teachers, stocking up on school supplies and new clothing – while exciting, it can be overwhelming for many children and parents.

At Generations Foundation, we are looking forward to our annual fundraising Back to School Bagel-o-Thon Breakfast, hosted by the Morena family of St. Viateur Bagel & Café on Monkland Ave. in NDG, Sept 10.

If you are unable to attend, tune in to Q92.5 from 5:30 to 9am; the station will be on location for the auction and other items of interest.

You’ll have many chances to win great prizes. You’ll also be able to meet Mike McLaughlin, well-known Montreal portrait and courtroom artist, at his canvas. We will introducing Elizabeth Hanley, the 15-year-old West Islander who will soothe you with her soulful voice. Elizabeth, a self-taught guitarist whose musical influences include The Beatles, Stevie Wonder and Joss Stone, has performed and competed regionally.

Generations invites ever yone to enjoy a delicious and complete breakfast with a generous serving of fresh fruit and all the trimmings, a bagel of your choice, straight out the oven, and coffee. (Try the restaurant’s decadent café viennois.) Afterward, you may want to order a dozen or more bagels to take home. One hundred per cent of your purchase will boost the Generations Foundation food programs for schoolchildren and their families. So, when you bite into that bagel, you’ll feel even better knowing your purchase is also helping to feed a child. We hope to surpass last year’s Bagel-o-Thon total of $14,000.

The Back to School Bagel-o-Thon Breakfast takes place at St. Viateur Bagel & Café, 5629 Monkland in NDG, Thursday, September 10 from 5:30 to 10am.

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Our phones will soon be ringing off the hook with requests from professionals in the schools who will teach hungry and disheartened children who cannot learn properly. The professionals know first-hand what Generations Foundation can accomplish. We expect to provide nutritious breakfasts, lunches and snacks to approximately 6,500 children daily. Generous Montrealers can help.

Many children are bussed to and from schools in other districts. Generations works with professionals and volunteers to provide practical solutions to help students of all ages stay in school. Generations provides the necessities for cooking classes to boost the students’ morale and skills. Leadership students are involved in meal planning, preparation, serving and cleaning up.

Many students benefit from our food programs: mentally and physically challenged students as well as those from dysfunctional families and those whose parents struggle day to day to make ends meet.

Generations provides refreshments are for sports activities run by the police or community centres.

The need for Generations Foundation services is increasing. To learn more, please visit our website at www.generationsfoundation.com or call us at 514-933-8585.

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