From Montréal with love: Dispatching relief kits worldwide

One balmy Saturday morning in November, a handful of people arrived at Ray and Angela Geurkink's apartment armed with offerings of pencils, notebooks, and other study tools. When the door flung open, they were greeted with scents of vanilla, maple, and butter and a gentle sizzling could be heard from the kitchen. As Ray poured more crêpe batter onto the pan, the group sat down cross-legged on the living room floor and began to assemble ‘des trousses’ in french, or ‘relief kits’. Their goals were two-fold: to share a meal together and give back to their global community. It came together like cinnamon and sugar.

A group of four people smiling for a photo as they pack relief kits
Pascal Tchelougou, David Kroeker-Maus, Annika Krause and Brendan Klassen participate in “Trousses et crêpes” hosted by Ray and Angela Geurkink.

On the other side of Montreal, Lydianne, 15, was also inspired to do more than pray for peace in Palestine and Israel. So, one Sunday morning, she stood in front of her fellow church members at Mennonite Brethren church in Saint-Eustache and delivered a PowerPoint presentation that included a proposal. First, she highlighted MCC's commitment to peace, healing, and justice in the region and its partnerships and presence in Palestine since 1949. Then she made an offer: members could donate money and receive homemade brownies, cookies or muffins and Lydianne in turn would use their donations to put together more ‘trousses’. Her goal was to collect $100. She ended up raising $517.73 and assembling 72 relief kits.

A young woman speaking in front of a church
Lydianne Ferland gives her presentation at Église Chrétienne des Frères Mennonites de Saint-Eustache.

Two grassroots events that make an impact. By sending these kits to people in crisis, a tangible reminder is provided to them that their needs matter. The colourful cloth bags holding toothbrushes, soap, sanitary pads, notebooks, pens and textbooks, were received at the MCC Quebec office in Montreal where they awaited a volunteer driver. They arrived first in Kitchener at the material resources warehouse located at the MCC Ontario office. There, they are blessed with a prayer by staff and sent out with other relief like canned meat, quilts and comforters to MCC’s partner organizations working in Gaza.  

Both events highlight the ripple effects of ideas rooted in grace: they can inspire and motivate others to act, and in doing so, plant seeds of peace and justice in ways only God can do. 

A box full of completed relief kits
Boxes full of relief kits.

1 Peter 4:10

"As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."

Here are other ways you can make a difference today:

  • Advocate: send a pre-written letter from MCC’s Ottawa-based Peace & Justice office to MPs to call for peace and justice in Gaza.  
  • Pray: A prayer for Palestine and Israel
  • Gather: get creative like these two Montreal-based events and give in a way that draws from your love language, skill, or interest.
  • Donate: send what you can so that MCC and its partners can continue humanitarian relief and peacebuilding work at home and around the world.

Give a gift where needed most

Every donation makes a difference.