Denise Zervos at Maison Ogilvy—serving the community and those in need for over 15 years

She started in 2003 after a career in the food industry … only over the last two decades she’s been doing it simply because she cares about people and she does it for free

The Hellenic Social Services of Quebec have been serving the community for quite some time, and as they don’t need an introduction to so many of you, perhaps they need an introduction to a few out there that aren’t exactly aware of what they have accomplished in their years of service to one and all.

Specifically, the work they’ve been doing with their weekly food drive is definitely worthy of note, as it came to a surprise even to me who had written about this association and the work they’ve done in the past.

A chance happening

I was on my way to cover another story, driving along Ogilvy when I happened upon a bunch of people in the small park attached to the Maison Ogilvy building. As a reporter, being drawn to a crowd certainly helps me do what I do, so I started asking questions, and as it turned out, the food drive was one that had already been happening at the William Hingston Center for years. Apparently they had moved to this new location in the last few years. Those in need of this service can consult the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal website.

Restrictions because of Covid-19

They needed to start doing things a tad differently because of the pandemic and that’s understandably so. Specifically, the major differences are the fact that they only give food out by appointment—those in need call or register and make official appointments with specific times to pick up their goods, and no one is allowed in the building other than the volunteers … the bags of food are brought to the door when a specific appointment time is called and those people show up.

Mary Arvanitaki

I got to sit down with Mary, who is responsible for the drive and many other goings-on a few weeks back and she filled me in on the ins and outs of Maison Ogilvy. She has been there for the last few years, many having had the job before, but she runs the place with the help of volunteers … people who give of their time freely to help the community. Mary, who was born in Park Ex, returned to Greece and returned eventually to Park Ex, takes her job seriously and cares about those of the community who are in need.

She told us that a total of 4 different organizations work out of Maison Ogilvy, all under the same roof, and a big aspect of the center is of course the work done for the elderly.

Denise Zervos & her band of merry volunteers


Denise Zervos at the helm, clipboard in hand, calling out appointments and subsequently handing out bags of food

And at the helm of those volunteers is a woman who has given just about 18 years of her life to this cause. Enter Denise Zervos. She takes to her job with a dedication to the community but with an equally strong disposition. Essentially, you can’t push this lady around—even if you tried and she doles out the food with a caring but cautionary disposition, as mentioned. But 18 years is definitely saying something, especially when it’s all on a volunteer basis.

She started in the restaurant and bar industry, and having had enough in that realm of food service, she decided to volunteer at food drives in the community. She has seen 5 supervisors take the helm, as Mary has, and has worked with them all, each and every single one of these supervisors giving Denise the space she requires to do the work, and she does it well and effectively.

Also volunteering are Anastasia and Christian, as well as many others … people who give of their time.

A call for more volunteers

Her only gripe after all this time is that it would be nice to have a truck, she says, as many of the volunteers are using their own cars to pick-up and/or deliver, so she would love to see the organization or even better, perhaps members of the community with trucks or trucks to lend come forward.

In the end, they can always use more volunteers. Those that wish to help can contact the Hellenic Community or Mary Arvanitaki at [email protected]

The organization also asked me to post this announcement: “We are thrilled to announce that our 1st SSHQ Fundraising Holiday Bazaar will be held on Friday, November 27th to Sunday, November 29th, and Friday, December 4th to Sunday, December 6th, 2020 from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm at 696 Saint Roch -Park Extension

Come and join us and buy books, jewelry, gift baskets, tempting treasures, knitted items, Christmas crafts and much more !

All proceeds will go towards our activities for the people in need.

If you cannot make it to the bazaar, but you would still like to support our causes, you can make a charitable donation to our organization by visiting the following link:https://hcgm.org/social-services/join-our-team/

Hope to see you all there.”