Every Friday at Chez Doris, a day centre for women in difficulty, there's a special lunch. A group gathers and prepares Inuit traditional dishes -- Arctic char, beluga and bannock.

But the lunch offers more on its menu than just the food.

“We all may be strangers, but we're family. That's the whole point – we share,” said client Pauline Harrison.

For 39 years, Chez Doris has helped hundreds of women, offering respite, a place to eat, socialize and get medical help.

But the shelter needs money for repairs and to fund its programs, so for the first time, it's holding an open house fundraising event.

“There are some windows we need to replace because water is infiltrating into the bricks. We also have to have a French drain that needs to be built,” said executive director Marina Boulos-Winton.

Andrea Adelman started using the services 30 years ago and it saved her.

“It's good for the motivation to get myself back together,” she said.

Monique Boulay, another client, says she made friends at the centre.

“It made me realize that people can help me,” she said.

Visitors to the open house will see demonstrations of the various programs offered at the centre, such as its financial management workshop and services offers to Inuit women.

A photo exhibit set up at the centre called "Where Do You Sleep" will feature the work of nine photographers. The money from the prints sold will go to the centre.

For photographer Joe Donohue, the project struck a chord.

“I found it quite depressing, really, that when one looks for evidence of homelessness in Montreal how easy it [is]. You just don't have to look very far,” he said.

The open house takes place at Chez Doris, 1430 Chomedey St., on Saturday and Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m.