From One Pillar of Strength to Another
Every two years, the municipal administration recognizes the social contribution of a Montrealer who makes a difference in people’s lives. This time around, Sylvie accepted the award “with honour, pride and humility.”
Ms. Rochette had the opportunity to meet Ms. Daviau, as well, which allowed her to fully appreciate this honour and identify with a woman who has dealt with adversity with her head held high.
“It’s an honour to be associated with a woman who became engaged socially and never quit fighting the good fight. She showed exemplary courage, she believed in her community, and she spared no effort in its behalf. This is a woman who was able to overcome the obstacles before her to pursue her objective.”
34 Partage outlets
The award thus recognizes Sylvie’s tireless efforts dating back to when she first founded her organization in 1997. At the outset, she alone worked to develop her network and partnerships, but today Ms. Rochette has a team of six people jointly coordinating the 34 Partage outlets deployed at the start of the school year and at Christmas. This year, Partage will come to the aid of 5,150 families in need..
“We don’t replace neighbourhood organizations that are already established. We refer families to existing resources at the local level to ensure that they have warm boots to wear, or to help with homework or assist them with their job search. Because one organization alone can’t solve all the problems experienced by people living in poverty.”
Selected families collect their groceries at Partage stores, where they meet front-line workers and pay 10 percent of the cost of their basket. This allows them to help other families in need. “People living in poverty are seldom able to help others financially. We’re proud to be able to give them that opportunity.”
As a project-driven person, Sylvie was inspired to do even more, and three years ago she put forward an urban agriculture project intended to supply fresh produce to the community-based organizations with which she has established ties.
“I knew that Montréal had unused agricultural lands and that food banks had difficulty finding fresh produce at certain critical times of the year. I proposed this large-scale agriculture project under which our farm is managed by a social reintegration organization. Cultiver l’espoir is the largest project of its kind in North America, and soon it will be self-financed.”
In partnership with the Métro grocery chain and food distributors, food is delivered to the organizations Moisson Montréal, Sun Youth and the Welcome Hall Mission. Produce from this new-model Montréal farm is also available for purchase at Métro grocers during the harvest season.
Congratulations Sylvie, and thank you!
David Suzuki Awards
The scientist and his foundation named Cultiver l’espoir the winner of its 3e third Action Award, ahead of 160 other candidates! The project drew the attention of the jury because it pairs the notion of solidarity and the social economy with agriculture. Last summer, eight school dropouts in social reintegration programs distributed some 120 tons of produce through the program.