‘Open House of Gift Giving’ to help 11 women’s shelters
Open House of Gift Giving founder Maria Larosa is seen here with directors of the women’s shelters who benefit from the fundraiser.
Martin C. Barry

Women and children living away from their usual homes this holiday season will have gifts to open on Christmas morning thanks to donations received during the 11th annual Holiday Open House of Gift Giving for Women’s Shelters at Memorial Community Centre in Rosemère on Sunday Nov. 24.

The event is being held for the benefit of 11 women’s shelters in the Laval and North Shore regions, including La Citad’Elle de Lachute, La Traverse, Maison Le Mitan, L’Ombre-Elle, La Maison d’Ariane, Maison de Lina, Maison L’Esther, La Maison le Prélude, La Passe-R-Elle des Hautes Laurentides, Regard En Elle and Regroup’Elles.

‘Open House of Gift Giving’ to help 11 women’s shelters
A musical performance from last year’s Holiday Open House of Gift Giving for Women’s Shelters at Memorial Community Centre in Rosemère.

Give generously

Directors of the shelters will be present to answer any questions as well as to share with visitors and donors how this event, over the years, has touched the lives of the many women and their children who go to the shelters. The organizers are asking once again for generous support to help make the event successful.

They are asking for gifts for the women and children, including monetary donations, raffle table articles and toys. All proceeds will be distributed among the shelters. Thanks to the donations, the women and children in the shelters will be able to enjoy the magic of the holiday season. The organizers look forward to seeing everyone, while also inviting supporters to share the invitation with friends and family.

‘Open House of Gift Giving’ to help 11 women’s shelters
Guests at last year’s Open House of Gift Giving helped make life easier during Christmas for the clients of 11 women’s shelters in the North Shore and Laval regions.

Gift items needed

Throughout the day, friends and supporters from all over Montreal will be stopping by to drop off new gift items, including clothing, toys, books, care essentials, bath products makeup and giftcards, while chatting for a while with the staff and shelter directors.

Maria Larosa, a Rosemère resident, held the first few Holiday Open House of Gift Giving for Women’s Shelters events at her home before deciding two years ago to make it a larger event at the town’s community centre. The organizing committee is made up of women from Rosemère, Sainte-Thérèse, Laval and many other communities in the Montreal region.

‘Open House of Gift Giving’ to help 11 women’s shelters
Rosemère mayor Eric Westram is a supporter of the Open House of Gift Giving.

Eleven shelters helped

The effort allows the women’s shelters to hold Christmastime events and to provide gifts to the families who happen to be there during the holidays. The assistance comes at a time when many families are feeling pressure more than at other times of the year.

This is the 11th year in a row that the Valora Association committee has hosted this much-anticipated community tradition, which continues to grow from year to year. In 2018, they collected over 1,100 gifts and $12,000 to help empower women to overcome domestic violence.