The gift of giving: Spending a birthday volunteering at a homeless shelter

Instead of planning a celebratory brunch or party, Dhabisha Kohilanathan chose to celebrate her 27th birthday by volunteering at a Montreal homeless shelter.

Dhabisha Kohilanathan celebrated her 27th birthday preparing food for clients of the Old Brewery Mission

Dhabisha Kohilanathan chose to spend her 27th birthday volunteering at the Old Brewery Mission in downtown Montreal. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

Instead of planning a celebratory party, Dhabisha Kohilanathan chose to celebrate her 27th birthday by volunteering at a Montreal homeless shelter.

Kohilanathan was inspired to volunteer for her birthday because she wanted to help the city's vulnerable.

"I decided to do something that was about giving back to my community, instead of focusing more on myself," she said.

She spent her morning preparing food for clients at the Old Brewery Mission. 

It was her first time volunteering for the mission, but she says she'll be back.

Dhabisha Kohilanathan spent her 27th birthday in the kitchen of the Old Brewery Mission, helping prepare food for the homeless shelter's clients. 1:18

About the Author

Kate McKenna is a reporter with CBC Montreal. She is covering the federal election in Quebec. Email her at


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