One morning while scrolling on Facebook, I saw a post in a group that caught my eyes. When I investigated further, I had been a member of the group but had not interacted with its’ posts or its’ members. The post that caught my eyes was a long thread questioning the sincerity of someone asking for help. Upon reading the admin’s final reply, I knew I had to write about the group.
Montrealers Helping Montrealers is a group of 23,000 Montrealers who collectively help each other out. The process is very simple; if you are in need, you post to the group, make your request, and wait until other group members reply to your post with aid. Now, if you are a donor, and have something to give, you post to the group and wait until you find someone wanting the item or items you are giving away. The requests from those wanting help range from groceries, bus passes, jobs, and even bikes. The donations are all vetted, and there are always a slew of replies or eager Montrealers wanting to help other Montrealers. The best feature about posting to the group is its’ “anonymous” feature, where you can post, without showing your Facebook profile.
My fascination with the group began from that one post where a Montrealer needing help developed into a thread of not-so-nice comments. Being a blogger who investigates, I did my homework to get all the facts. In this case, the issue was the frequency to which the particular Montrealer requested aid. I scrolled all the way back to her first post and validated the high frequency of her requests for aid. Now, if I were the admin of the group, I would have probably started to become suspicious. But I was awe-stuck when the founder of the group Leah Lasry did not push the group member away or out of the group, she told her that she would help her herself.
That’s what struck me. Here’s someone, a perfect stranger, requesting help. We have no way to vouch for her and the validity of her request, and here’s an admin saying: “it doesn’t matter, if someone requests help, instead of judging, we should rally together and help”. With that response, I started to question my very own altruism.
This was such a life-changing moment for me, that I had to
speak to the group’s founder, Leah Lasry.
I spent almost an hour in my first conversation with Leah, and to my surprise, she is a selfless woman who has helped thousands of Montrealers and continues to champion her cause to eradicate child poverty with FEEDCharity.org.
Our conversation was so deep and touching, it inspired me to take a look at the way I contribute to Montreal and the world. What I got from our conversation is that we shouldn’t judge anyone. And that’s why the group is so successful and continues to grow, it is a safe place where Montrealers can come to for some relief in their situations. While Leah’s management of the group is time-consuming and sometimes very challenging, she says that it gives her so much joy and fulfillment.
So here’s my takeaway, not everyone has been given the same start in life, and not everyone has the same trajectory. While some have more, they should use their time and blessings to help those who may not have been given the same lot in life. And sometimes, people’s lives and fortunes can be turned around by a simple act of “kindness.”
Join the group today: Montrealers Helping Montrealers
Special mention to Robin Goodman, a group admin*