News Story

Making a Difference During the Pandemic

Believing that one person can make a difference in a community, members of the Montreal Quebec Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made donations to two local non-profit organizations to support their efforts of helping individuals, one person at a time.

Adriana Robledo, the communication director for the Montreal Quebec Stake, said, “I see so many organizations in society that are doing important work and really making a difference. Our congregations want to work with these organizations to increase their efforts tenfold; no effort goes unnoticed by the Lord.”

The first donation, $3,400, was made to Le Book Humanitaire of Saint-Jérôme, an organization founded by Rachel Lapierre more than 11 years ago to help individuals and families in times of emergency.

When Robledo met Lapierre, she was impressed by the way Lapierre and the volunteers in her organization were making a difference locally and internationally, but it was the love they exuded that really caught her attention.

Lapierre is called “the Mother Teresa of Quebec” by those who know her and her work. Her goal is to give back to society what she has received. “We give. We don’t judge,” said Lapierre, a woman of faith who builds on her values and Christian beliefs with total respect for others.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lapierre’s team of volunteers has been contacting all citizens of several cities in the Lower Laurentians by combing through the phone book to identify any person or family who might be left behind, isolated or struggling with unmet basic needs, such as groceries or help getting to medical appointments.

Lapierre is a nurse by profession and has been working in humanitarian missions in Quebec and abroad (Senegal, India and Haiti) for nearly 30 years. She devotes between seven and 10 hours a day to her work and does not count her time. As long as there is someone suffering, she takes care of them. She likes to say that she cares for “those who are left behind by society.”

Yvonne Mongeau, a volunteer with Le Book Humanitaire and co-ordinator of the Montreal Quebec Stake’s JustServe program, confirms Lapierre’s dedication. “I’ve seen her dedication many times, both here and in Calcutta, India,” she said.

Sister Jean B. Bingham, the Relief Society general president, has said that “small acts of service can have a profound influence on others, as well as ourselves” (“Ministering as the Savior Does,” April 2018 general conference).

The second donation, also $3,400, was presented by President Jorge Muñoz, first counsellor of the Montreal Quebec Stake presidency, and Mongeau to the Old Brewery Mission (OBM), an organization that assists the homeless.

With the growing need for resources for OBM’s various programs during a particularly challenging time of health and economic crisis, the donation will help vulnerable women reintegrate into society. Chantal Rollin, OBM’s assistant director of women’s services, expressed gratitude for the donation, saying, “Your donation … was very timely; you don’t know how good it is for us — and the ladies.”

President Muñoz said, “Making small efforts may not seem like much, but every act of selfless service has a greater impact than we think when we care for someone and help them regain control of their life.”

Louis DeSerres, JustServe specialist and assistant communication director for the Atlantic Provinces co-ordinating council, knows that everyone can play a role. He was recently asked to help connect volunteers with non-profit organizations on the free JustServe website. The mandate of this site is to foster unity through community service and help “organizations and volunteers come together to do good things for the community” ( DeSerres has reached out to various community organizations to find volunteer opportunities to post on JustServe.

President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reminds us that “great things are accomplished and burdens are lightened by the efforts of many hands working zealously in a good cause” (“Be Anxiously Engaged,” October 2012 general conference).

Contributed by Adriana Robledo, Montreal Quebec Stake communication director

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