Five women in Montreal get together once a month to cook for the city’s less fortunate. They call themselves the Shathi Sisters. Shathi is a Bangladeshi word that means togetherness and that is the core of what drives the women to operate their multifaith soup kitchen out of the St. George’s Anglican Church in downtown Montreal. Together, they are helping others and showing that, even in small numbers, you can make the world better.
When COVID-19 hit the world and brought even more struggle to the already difficult lives of those in need, these women gladly ventured on this project. It gave them the opportunity to help others and to see each other. Since December, the Shathi Sisters have spent one Saturday a month cooking 100 meals for those in need and have distributed them around downtown Montreal.
Food costs are kept under $100, but the woman philanthropists have always made sure that the food is “not just scraps of food,” but something they themselves would prepare for their own families: delicious, enjoyable, and healthy, but low cost. They hope to expand their services in the future and eventually do this mission once a week. Besides giving food to the needy, the multifaith soup kitchen project has also brought these women together and they always look forward to it. “We think it’s our duty to do this,” said Irene Mazumder. “Not just because there’s people in need. It’s our duty. If we’re able to help, then why not.”
“The purpose of my engagement, it’s serving the community,” said Sobhan. “When the pandemic was going on, many people lost their homes. They are homeless. So it was great timing for us to start with this. And maybe we started with a soup kitchen, maybe we can do more things. More projects.” Another founder member, Nafissah Rahman, says ““We have a lot of spaces, but it’s not people of colour, there’s no representation. And it mattered to us that the representation of ourselves, so that our future generations can see that we too, we have to do this.”
With the months of public health restrictions, the Shahti Sisters say meeting up every four weeks fulfilled their need to connect in person. The added bonus to their good deed is another great example that anyone of all backgrounds can make a difference in the lives of others and these acts of kindness always inspire others.