Have you ever been asked for change from someone on street and wondered if there was something better you could do to help instead of of just giving them a dollar?
Well 2 Montrealers didn't just sit around wondering about that, they went out and took action.
In order to celebrate Thanksgiving, David Obegi and Casey Fratta and their fantastic haircuts went out and bought over $5,000 worth of winter coats from Oxygen collections and distributed them to the homeless over the weekend.
Their goal is to spread awareness and to encourage others to do their own part to help the homeless.
A no-kill animal shelter in Vaudreuil-Dorion, SPCA West, says it needs help recovering from a "disaster" after a flood caused major damage to more than 70% of its walls and floors.
"Last thing we expected when coming to work yesterday morning, is to open the doors to 2 inches of water running through and flooding the SPCA. A water pipe burst over night, and [a] huge amount of water made its way through the entire shelter," SPCA West wrote in an email dated August 13.
SPCA West's executive director, Remi Brazeau, told MTL Blog the animals doing well and no one got hurt. Brazeau said another shelter, Auberge Refuge Zen in Laval, stepped in quickly to take the animals to a dry new home.
But Brazeau also said the insurance policy will likely only cover a very small portion of the damages and lost items. According to SPCA West, the damage will be "well into the six figures," but the insurance policy will cover a maximum of $7,000.
"We are insured. The problem we face is more complex than just a call and bang they solve it. It's about establishing responsibility, who did the work and which insurer will cover what and to what extent," SPCA West posted on Facebook.
The post says there's an ongoing debate about who the insurance will deem responsible for the incident: the SPCA, the manufacturer of the burst pipe, the contractor from when the place was built, and so on.
"Meanwhile, we are stuck in the midst of this and need to rebuild while this debate continues and can last weeks or even more, we are told," the post says.
Brazeau told MTL Blog the shelter is "desperately needing financial help to get things fixed up." The team has launched a donation campaign and those wishing to donate can do so online.
Meanwhile, Jessica Prince-Chenier, who works for Refuge Zen, said the shelter has space for the seven dogs and 10 cats it took in from the SPCA West. But she said they could use donations of dog toys and cat litter.
Giving back to the community is at the heart of Desjardins' values. Every year, the financial cooperative shares part of its surplus earnings with its members. The individual amounts that each person receives are called member dividends.
Not all financial institutions give out dividends, so you might be wondering if they apply to you. At Desjardins, as long as you're a caisse member, you could receive a dividend.
If you're already a member, knowing how dividends are calculated can give you an idea of how much you could get back this year.
Here's how dividends work.
First, the cooperative has to be doing well enough financially to afford paying out dividends. As long as that condition is met (among a few others), members can attend their caisse's annual general meeting to vote on how they want to redistribute surplus earnings. After the vote, Desjardins calculates and pays out individual dividends.
The whole process happens once every year. This year, dividends will be deposited into members' accounts between May 31 and June 14, 2021.
The total individual amount that's paid out to eligible members is made up of two kinds of dividends: product dividends and volume dividends. These are both calculated differently, so you'll need to take several criteria into account to find out how much you could receive.
You could receive a product dividend of up to $50 if, over the course of 2020, you had at least one product in each of these product lines:
Cards, loans and credit
Savings and investments
If you're 30 years old or younger, you're eligible if you had a product in only three of the four lines. In other words, if you're 25 and you had a savings account, a credit card and renter's insurance with Desjardins all through 2020, you could get $50 back.
These dividends are calculated based on two things: the average account balance (or premium, for insurance products) that you've kept all year in each product line, and the percentage that members voted on during your caisse's annual general meeting. For every $1,000 you'll get an amount back.
If you want to have a say in your caisse's decisions, you can attend your caisse's annual general meeting. These meetings give all Desjardins members an equal opportunity to speak up about what matters most to them. Plus, with the meetings all online, it's never been easier to attend.
While you're waiting to receive your 2020 member dividend, you can log in to AccèsD to easily check how much was deposited into your account in previous years.
If you're using the Desjardins mobile app, simply scroll down to the "Quick access" section and click on the "My dividend" icon. From there, you can pick a year from the drop-down menu. In your web browser, the "My dividend" tab is in the right-hand menu.
This year, a total of 330 million dollars' worth of member dividends will be paid out. If you're a Desjardins member and you've never received a dividend, take a look at their list of eligible products.
To learn more about member dividends and find out if you could be eligible, check out Desjardins' website or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.
There's a new player getting into the beauty-products game. With over 40 years of experience in the field, Beauté Star is a Quebec company that's finally made its online boutique accessible to all.
It's a one-stop-shop where you'll find your favourite everyday beauty products among a huge selection of top-of-the-line items, so you can treat yourself from head to toe and indulge in exactly the level of luxury and comfort you deserve.
Check out some of their top recommendations to bring your mane back to life.
High Amplify Foam Volumizer
Details: Trying to give flat hair some volume can drive you crazy pretty quickly. Thankfully, this foam volumizer works wonders to give that effortless, slightly tousled hair that says, "I woke up like this!"
Details: Free of sulphates, parabens and sodium chloride, this mask is perfect for hair that got a keratin treatment or a Brazilian blowout. It's especially effective at getting rid of those pesky split ends that cling to your head.
Details: Looking to give your braids and buns extra texture and volume? This volumizing powder will help you achieve YouTube beauty guru-level hairstyles. There's also the added bonus that it's cruelty-free and certified by PETA.
Details: Delivering 11 benefits, this is the ultimate TLC cream. It does everything from hydrating and protecting your hair from heat damage to preventing split ends and reducing frizz — all while leaving your mane soft and shiny.
Details: This 100% vegan and gluten-free hairspray gives your locks a natural finish that's actually pleasant to the touch without being sticky or stiff. From morning to night, you won't have a single hair falling out of place.
Details: You'll love using this thermal brush, which can heat up to 450°F to straighten your hair like a dream. Its tourmaline ceramic-coated bristle along with an LED temperature indicator will also help protect your mane from heat damage. Plus, it also comes with a 12-month warranty.
If any of these products piqued your interest, Beauté Star offers free and fast delivery on orders of $39 or more, plus their best-price guarantee. You can also contact their team that'll gladly answer all of your questions and suggest products that suit your hair needs.
As for hair-care professionals, Beauté Star has many exclusive deals and partnerships to help you generate some extra income.
Pronovost-Morgan told MTL Blog she and her co-founder wanted to volunteer for a similar organization — before realizing none actually existed in Montreal.
Digging deeper into whether there was a need for menstrual products in the city, they found there was an immense lack of pads and tampons at homeless shelters — and staff told them a supply of menstrual products would be crucial.
"When people think homelessness, they think men [first], and then they think clothes, they think food, but never does it come to people's minds that pads and tampons are also an essential need," Pronovost-Morgan said.
Monthly Dignity has teamed up with local food bank Moisson Montreal and Quebec menstrual product manufacturer Fempro, in addition to other partners, to store and distribute period products to people who need them.
"[Fempro sometimes] changes their packaging, for marketing purposes. And they used to throw out the products with the old packaging," she said.
"We came in and said, 'There's a need, and there are people who can't afford these products. Can you donate them to us?' And they agreed, which was incredible."
What has Monthly Dignity done so far?
Pronovost-Morgan said, since its inception, Monthly Dignity has delivered close to 160,000 period products to 16 local shelters and raised almost $20,000 in funding.
Monthly Dignity's latest initiative does something that governments are doing in other countries around the world — it provides free menstrual products to students.
In collaboration with John F. Kennedy High School in Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension, Monthly Dignity has donated 15,000 pads and tampons to students in need.
Pronovost-Morgan said the school's community leader, Rocco Speranza, reached out to Monthly Dignity for help after noticing that some students would not show up for five days in a row each month due to a lack of period products.
"We [...] realized this was an actual problem. Period poverty was leading to school absenteeism and was presenting a barrier to education," Pronovost-Morgan said.
"It's something we heard about in India, for example, but the fact that it was happening here in Montreal was shocking."
As for future plans, Pronovost-Morgan told MTL Blog there is more work to be done on a wider scale.
The organization has submitted a petition to the House of Commons and is currently waiting for it to be accepted.
"Our clear limitation here is that we're a group of students, and we do this on a volunteer basis," she said.
"That's why we're at the point where we really hope the government can step in."
How can we solve period poverty in Quebec?
Pronovost-Morgan said Monthly Dignity's mission was initially to distribute menstrual hygiene products to homeless Montrealers.
But over the years, she said, the team realized that period poverty is a much wider problem.
"Period poverty affects homeless individuals, it affects people living in precarious situations under the poverty line, single mothers, immigrants, students, [and] the list continues," Pronovost-Morgan said.
"Governmental action will be necessary to tackle this problem because our solutions are palliative — they're kind of like a Band-Aid."