Montreal Chez Doris women’s shelter hosts Christmas party

“We want those women to feel special,” says Chez Doris case worker Clara Seidenberg about the shelter’s annual Christmas party on Thursday. Brittany Henriques reports.

“We want those women to feel special love, appreciated and valued for who they are wherever they’re at in their lives currently it’s very important for us, said Clara Seidenberg, a case worker at Chez Doris.

Montreal’s Chez Doris women’s shelter Christmas party is back and bigger than ever.

Over 200 women – deemed under the poverty line – got to experience the joys of the holiday season.

“Seeing all those beautiful faces and souls all together in one place once a year its a candy for the workers and the women attending it,” said Seidenberg.

Clemence Moulebou is an asylum seeker from Congo Brazzaville – she’s been here since September and will be spending her first Christmas here in Quebec – the generosity of the community is beyond what many here expected.

“There are all kinds of women here today women like me who are asylum seekers, refugees, homeless women we’re all here together today because of Chez Doris and we are very very happy it’s a good Christmas,” said Moulebou.

“I am so happy and I don’t think anyone else’s joy can surpass mine because I did not expect this I was surprised. This touched me, it’s the first time in my life that I experience something like this,” said Awoua Cawoua Yigo Coulibaly.

Awoua Cawoua Yigo Coulibaly is a refugee from Burkina Faso – she arrived here in April 2022 and will be spending her first holiday season in Montreal like so many others – she says the party brought her unparalleled joy.

“When I look at this party, I don’t even have words to explain what I feel. The words escape me, but I thank them,” said Coulibaly.

Many are examples of success stories for Chez Doris with most of them now housed – after they once needed the shelters services daily or weekly.

“It’s important to hold a party like this because it brings a lot of joy to women who otherwise don’t have much joy in their lives they perhaps don’t have the social network or the family to see during the holidays they also live below the poverty line and they appreciate getting a gift and a lot of times they give their gift to a loved one because they cant afford to get them a gift because they live below the poverty line,” said executive director of Chez Doris Marina Boulos-Winton.

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