Hélène Martel

Since 2011, I have been hosting monthly breakfasts for groups of 12 to 25 people. I really enjoy spending hours carefully preparing the dishes that will be served.
 
For my retirement, I dreamed of opening a bed and breakfast, a project that would combine people and cooking, my two greatest passions. But it didn’t work out because it was a bit too demanding.
 
Two years later, in 2008, I developed breast cancer. I received treatment and everything turned out ok for me. After this dark period, I realized that I wanted to give back, but I didn’t really know how. I was looking for a cause I believed in and I wanted to work closely with people.
 
So I went online to explore the volunteer opportunities in my region. That’s when I discovered the Quebec Cancer Foundation. I liked the cause and the idea of helping people facing a challenge I knew well. I filled out the online volunteer form.
 
I then met with the volunteer coordinator at the Foundation’s Sherbrooke Lodge. We talked about my career and my interests. At the end of our discussion, he suggested I organize community breakfasts. What a great idea! It brought together my love of people and cooking.
 
Since 2011, I have been hosting monthly breakfasts for groups of 12 to 25 people. I really enjoy spending hours carefully preparing the dishes that will be served. I also make sure to include a variety of foods that are healthy and stimulate the immune system. Everything is homemade and prepared with love!
 
I am thrilled with this opportunity to add a bit of sunshine to the lives of residents, as we sit down and share a meal. I am moved by people’s warm reception and openness even if they are going through difficult treatments. Their courage and hope gives me the strength to continue this charitable work.
 
One day, a lady came up to me after breakfast and thanked me for bringing light into her life. I was speechless. Her words warmed my heart. That’s when I realized the positive impact sharing a good meal can have on the people I see every month.
 
Volunteering is an extremely fulfilling experience that allows me to meet authentic people and feel useful in my community. It was my passion for cooking that paved the way for these wonderful moments. You too can take your talents and interests and use them to help others. Try it! It feels great. 

Hélène Martel

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