"Montreal's first private Protestant charity was formed in 1815 when a group of women organized the Female Benevolent Society to help the growing number of needy immigrants."
Montreal's first private Protestant charity was formed in 1815 when a group of women organized the Female Benevolent Society to help the growing number of needy immigrants. As the only Protestant charity in the city, it aimed to provide all the services needed by women and children. In the summer of 1816-17 the organizers helped a number of recent immigrants with food, firewood, clothes and medicine. They rented a house in the Recollet suburb in 1817 and a second one in 1819. These served as a school and boarding home for children, as a House of Recovery for sick women, as a soup kitchen and a dispensary for the city's poor. I In 1817-18 they aided some 370 people including twenty permanent inmates. In their work with immigrants the women were helped by the Society for the Relief of Emigrants, an association of Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian ministers that organized assisted passage westward.?
Slowly, some of these services were taken over by others. Between 1819 and 1822, the patients were transferred from the House of Recovery to the early Montreal General Hospital, established by businessmen and doctors.' About the same time several ladies formed a National School, and the British and Canadian Schools Society began setting up schools." In light of these developments the Benevolent Society was dissolved in 1822. The children were given into the care of the Protestant Churches; the soup kitchen and dispensary services were discontinued. However, the ministers found the children's care too demanding and called a meeting of women to establish an orphanage.