Nadia Azoulay has always been the primary caregiver for her 5-year-old son, Aidan, as she separated from the father two months before giving birth.
Feeling increasingly isolated over the years, she decided in late April to create an online community for single mothers in Montreal, called Single MOMtreal. It is a members-only Facebook group that helps single moms find resources and support throughout the city.
But what started as a simple Facebook group has snowballed into much more. Through a partnership with the MADA Community Centre, a Jewish organization that provides food baskets to those in need, Single MOMtreal will soon host events open to single mothers of all faiths. The first of these will be on July 9 and there will be a buffet, prizes, special activities for kids and guest speaker Ravit Rose, a single mom who wrote the book Unwanted Nasty Divorces. Her talk will focus on themes of empowerment and finding strength and beauty in being a single mom.
Azoulay is now organizing periodic prize giveaways to members, featuring donated goods and services provided by other members and supporters from outside the group. She is also working on a website, singlemomtreal.com, which she hopes to launch in the next few months as a community resource.
“A lot of people are just not aware of how much help there is out there,” Azoulay said.
In addition to sharing information, group members are trading baby items, toys and household goods, and donating food to moms in need. Azoulay is storing donated baby items for a 20-year-old who is due to give birth soon. The baby’s father isn’t around to help the young mother-to-be, and her own mother has cancer and is limited financially from helping her daughter.
“My house kind of looks like a warehouse right now,” Azoulay said.
Members of the group have stepped up to help each other in other ways too, lending a sympathetic ear when times get tough, trading babysitting services in exchange for help folding laundry, and even offering a place to stay for a woman fleeing an abusive ex.
“I started the group just wanting to provide resources and to bring people together, and it’s so nice to see single moms helping each other,” she said. “It’s a beautiful thing.”
The first event takes place at the MADA Community Centre, 6875 Decarie Blvd. from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 514-342-4969.
To find the group online visit the Single MOMtreal Facebook Page.