WATCH: Record $1 million donated to Chez Doris
The Chez Doris women's shelter was close to closing several years ago, but now it has wind in its sails thanks to a record $1 million dollar donation
"After having almost closed our doors in 2014, not to mention the major work that had to be done on our building in 2017, this exceptional and unexpected donation will allow Chez Doris to realize its mission on a larger scale," said Marina Boulos-Winton, Executive Director of Chez Doris, in a statement.
Originally, 95-year-old Andrew Harper was set to donate a less generous sum of $10,000.
But that quickly changed.
"Harper was convinced that his philanthropic gift would have the greatest impact in view of its clientele's escalating poverty and the growing number of women in Greater Montreal, who are, if not homeless, vulnerable to becoming so. During initial discussions with Mr. Harper and his accountant, his contribution went from $10,000 to $1 million!" Boulos-Winton said.
A retired businessman, Harper made his fortune with a company specializing in importing and distributing cookies and chocolates. He was honoured during a tea reception on Sunday, where guests included several Quebec cabinet ministers.
"With the passing of my beloved wife and our former, professional success, I felt my growing responsibility to give back to the community," Harper said. "Carole and I made a good living, and I wanted to contribute to an organization which helps the most disadvantaged and which is not far from my own neighbourhood. I invite men and women who want to make a difference to invest in the organization as it plays a big role in improving our society."
Chez Doris is Montreal's only women's day shelter open seven days per week. It offers several services and programs for women dealing with poverty, mental illness or addiction, including meal services, access to hygenic products and showers, and a clothing depot.
Donations can be made online here.