Montreal health volunteers celebrated for their kindness


“Very heartwarming,” says Giuseppe Mignelli, one of the many volunteers from CIUSSS West Central Montreal who were celebrated on Thursday. The event thanked them for their dedication and kindness in their more than 30 facilities. Pamela Pagano reports.

Volunteers from CIUSSS West Central Montreal were celebrated for their kindness at an event Thursday evening.

A portion of Pavilion K at the Jewish General Hospital was filled with music, food and smiles – a way to thank those who generously give of their time to the many facilities.

“It's very heartwarming,” said Giuseppe Mignelli, a volunteer at the hospital. “I really appreciate it and I'm happy to be a part of it.”

CIUSSS West Central Montreal volunteers Albert Ohayon (left) and Giuseppe Mignelli (right) at the Jewish General Hospital on May 30, 2024. (Photo credit: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

Mignelli has been volunteering for over a year since his retirement.

His job is to guide people through the many pavilions and floors of the hospital.

“It means a lot to me,” he explained. “I feel that volunteering at this hospital is a way for me to contribute and give back to the community.”

From organizing activities to visiting patients, CIUSSS West Central Montreal employs over 1,000 active volunteers in its more than 30 facilities.

“We serve six nursing homes,” said Marko Obradovic, head of volunteer services at CIUSSS West Central Montreal. “We serve five CLSCs.”

“We have two rehabilitation hospitals,” he added. “And we have the Jewish General Hospital.”

(Photo credit: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

“We actually have volunteers everywhere,” said Obradovic.

These include volunteers at the Father Dowd Residential Centre, where CEGEP student Alexandrine Lafrenière spends time with elderly people who are no longer able to live independently.

“When they're not speaking, they can just make sounds and feel the presence of someone next to them,” she said. “That makes all the difference in their daily lives.”

Lafrenière brought 20 people from her school to volunteer at the center – they even organized a tea party for the residents.

“The resident liked it,” she said.

Tea party for the residents of the Father Dowd Residential Centre. (Presented by: Alexandrine Lafrenière)

“It was so festive,” said Obradovic. “The music, they sang.”

“It was a beautiful place at that moment,” he added. “Almost like the most beautiful place in the world.”

(Photo credit: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

From one hour a week to whatever you can offer the community, CIUSSS encourages others to donate their time and join their team of volunteers that feels like family.

“Today our leaders are coming,” Obradovic said at the event. “Our employees, even our patients.”

“Everyone will come together to thank (the volunteers) for everything they do.”

(Photo credit: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

“It's not a job to go there every week,” said Lafrenière. “It's fun to feel recognized at some point.”

“I am truly grateful for this event today.”

“The people are nice,” said Mignelli. “And I'm really happy to be a part of it.”