BDO Cornwall collects 2,580 lbs of food


In just 5 hours, the staff from BDO Cornwall collected 2,580 lbs of food and over $800 in cash and President’s Choice gift cards.

The crew stood outside the doors of Your Independent Grocer on a busy Friday afternoon and evening.



Half of the group invited people on the way in to the store to add some much needed items to their carts for the local food bank. The other half happily collected the generous donations at the exit doors.

We are so grateful to the staff at BDO for choosing to help our food bank. Every year they host a food drive – and each year event more bountiful than the last!bdo5bdo4

Hunger Awareness Week: Sept 19-23

For one week, food banks and their supporters across this bountiful country are using their collective voice to amplify the message: yes, hunger lives here in Canada – in our cities, villages, counties, and in our neighbourhoods.

Hunger Awareness Week raises awareness of the solvable problem of hunger in Canada. Food banks across the country hold events to tell the story of the work they do, and the stories of hungry Canadians assisted by food banks.

There is hunger in Canada

Food banks have been helping more than 800,000 people each and every month for the better part of the past 15 years. In 2015, over 850,000 people were assisted each month by a food bank in Canada. Of those helped, 37% were children and 90,000 turned to a food bank for the first time. Locally, the Agape Centre helps more than 1,200 people a month through the food bank, and serves a nutritious and delicious meal to more than 100 people every weekday.

There is hunger in Canada because…

Too many Canadians do not have enough income to pay for rent, bills, clothing for growing children, transportation, medication – and food. Food is, unfortunately, one of the most flexible household expenses, and it is often nutrition that suffers when money is tight.

It’s Time to Draw the Line on Hunger

Hunger in Canada is a significant issue. Which is why it’s so critical to dedicate a week to talk about it and work together to make a change. Hunger Awareness Week, September 19-23, 2016 is a week for communities and individuals across Canada to take action in reducing hunger. You can draw the line on hunger and make a positive difference.

Who uses a food bank?

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians use food banks because they do not have enough money to feed themselves or their families. Children. Seniors. People with disabilities. People who have jobs and still can’t make ends meet.

Learn more about Hunger Awareness Week.

To help our food bank, please consider donating President’s Choice gift cards so that we can purchase healthy and fresh foods.

Agapè’s new ED focused on collaboration

The Agapè Centre‘s board of directors is excited to announce they have hired Diane Plourde, who defines herself as a collaborator, to lead the organization, beginning October 3rd.

“I’m very team oriented and I think that with many people you can accomplish great things,” said Plourde. “I’m a believer in building networks.”

Plourde’s vision: to see the Agapè Centre as an agency that collaborates with everyone and is truly meeting the needs of anyone that has food insecurities.

“And maybe that’s in different ways than how it’s being done right now,” she said.

The Cornwallite is the founding Executive Director of Victim Services of SDG&A, and has worked there for the past 11 years. She sites setting up the agency from scratch as one of her biggest challenges and accomplishments to date.

“I started the program from a box of binders and went from 2 staff members and one program to 7 staff members and several programs,” she said.

Plourde says her first undertaking as Executive Director for the local food bank and soup kitchen will be to look to the community for their input.

“I have a vision for the Agapè Centre, but want to make sure it’s aligned with our community’s needs and plan on doing stakeholder consultations and an environmental scan to set an appropriate strategic direction for the agency” said Plourde. “I plan on consulting with all staff members, donors, clients and partner agencies, to see what is being done well, what may be improved, and what are some opportunities for growth.”

Jim Healey, chair of the Agapè Centre’s board of directors, stated that three key factors attracted the interview committee to select Plourde for the position: her proven leadership and experience to lead the next phase of development; she is fluently bilingual; and she has successfully worked collaboratively with other agencies.

“We believe Diane will use her collaborative skills to build relationships in the community as well as with staff and volunteers at the Agapè Centre,” said Healey. “We are excited to begin this new relationship and continue the much needed work in the community.”

Plourde is currently finishing a Master in Philanthropy and Non-Profit Leadership at Carleton University, to complement her undergraduate degree in Psychology.

“At the base of many philanthropic actions is the issue of poverty, so that has opened up my eyes to this area of need.” she said.

Plourde says she was drawn to the position because she has seen the growing needs of people who are food insecure through her work with Victim Services.

“We see it first hand. Sometimes our responders visit the homes. We know that it’s there. Poverty is something that is real and touches upon so many things,” said Plourde. “I think that the Agapè Centre is a vital community service and would like to continue my professional journey by helping the agency reach its full potential.

The centre’s new director wants to look at facilitating connections between clients and partnering agencies to help better meet people’s needs.

“Meeting their needs for food is one thing. Maslow’s hierarchy shows that if you don’t tend to basic needs, if people are worried about eating tomorrow, they’re not going to get help for something they really need help with right now. But if they know that they have access to healthy food, then maybe they’ll feel strong enough, healthy enough to seek additional supports. Can we connect them and help them with that? Make services more accessible? I don’t know but it is worth exploring through consultations with our many stakeholders,” she said.

While the organization’s new leader is not planning on turning the Agapè Centre into an agency that ‘does everything’, she says she does want to explore enhanced collaborations.

Recognizing some of the criticism the charity has incurred over the years, Plourde wants to shed some insight and help change the public’s perspective by hosting an open house in the spring, inviting community members and agencies to see the great work that happens within the centre’s walls.

“I think people would appreciate being able to come in and see the work that goes into maintaining an operation like this. People hear a lot of things, some positive, some negative, some truthful, some less truthful, so I think the community needs the opportunity to come and see the great work that takes place and the demands of maintaining such essential services,” said Plourde. “I think that there’s a whole side of things that needs to be shown or that people don’t see.”

Previously, Diane Plourde spent 13 years at Job Zone d’emploi, and has worked in the field of addictions, probation services and has taught at St. Lawrence College.

Hunger Doesn’t Take a Summer Vacation

School’s out and the kids are savoring their holidays, but for many families in our community summer is one of the hardest times to keep food on the table.

Ask any food bank what time of year is their busiest for donations and they’ll tell you it’s December.

But hunger doesn’t happen just at Christmas.

Many low-income families rely on school meal programs to help their get children the nutrients they need to thrive. During the summer months, kids don’t have access to these programs so parents on low-income often struggle to be able to provide meals for their children.

Mathew, a father of three children, was recently laid off. Last week was the third time that he’s visited the Agapè Centre’s food bank.

“I was always working and now I’m laid off. It’s hard. It’s nice to get the extra help,” Matthew said.

The young father knows first-hand the particular strain of the added costs of the season.

“Kids love the fruits in the summer. They’re always hungry and more fruit is expensive on its own,” he said.

What does 1000 clients a month for the food bank look like?

We gave out over $15,000 worth of emergency food each month this June and July.

The summer months can be difficult for many families to keep food on their tables, so we’re faced with a higher need for services from families. But it’s also the time of year that we see a substantial drop in donations.

Over the summer, we see more children eating in the community kitchen.

During the month of April, 26 children were served meals in the community kitchen, but in the first month that school was out (part of June and part of July), 44 children lunch in our kitchen.

That’s an increase of 69%.

There are many ways to support your local food bank and soup kitchen, which services more than 1,000 people in our community. You can give fresh food from your garden, drop off a grocery store gift card or cash donation, or become a monthly donor.

We can issue tax receipts for any donation of $20 or more (cash or food or grocery gift cards with receipts).

What we really need right now is money for fresh produce. And if people have an aversion to giving cash, we are always happy to receive PC gift cards. The PC gift cards allow us to buy items like milk and eggs, which we don’t receive through normal donations.

The Agapè Centre spent $4,500 this past month on fresh foods alone, including potatoes, carrots, onions, milk and eggs.

We don’t want to be feeding bellies with empty calories. Low wealth is often correlated to low health, and we do not want to contribute to the costs of our health care system in the long run.

Our organization has been feeding people in need for over 40 years, and recent changes are making it easier to access services in a comfortable and dignified way.

“The upgrades at the food bank are great – I always feel welcome here. Don’t be ashamed when you actually do need the help,” said Mathew.

You Stuffed the Bus….x2!

Our hearts are full of gratitude and our shelves are full of food.

Thank you to Corus, 1045 Fresh Radio, Boom 101.9, City of Cornwall, Cornwall City Transit, and everyone who donated food to help stuff the bus.

The food has been counted. An astounding 2,944 food items were donated along with over $1,000 in cash.

The total value of donations was $6,589.95.

This event has had an incredible impact on our food bank and the people we serve.

On Friday, June 10th, Cornwall City Transit parked a city bus in front of City Hall, and from from 6 am to 7 pm generous community members stopped by with bags, boxes, and truck loads of food.

We stuffed every seat and covered every window.

Stuff the BusBus bus 3 bus 4 Bus2


Séguin Patate’s 60th Anniversary Celebration, benefitting Agapè Centre

The local chip stand icon is celebrating 60 years of fries with some special deals on Sunday August 21 from 11am to 6pm.

Owner Mike Allaire will give away 60 t-shirts to lucky customers at the top of every hour.

And there will be a hint of nostalgia: Séguin Patate will bring back the 25¢ fry cone for the day.

Allaire remembers the old days of summer with Séguin Patate chip trucks ringing their bells up and down the streets of Cornwall. He hopes the fry cone will bring people back to the delight of sucking up every last drop of vinegar out the bottom of the cone…once the fries were devoured of course.

All proceeds from the following celebration specials will be donated to the Agapè Centre:

  •  Mini donuts, $2/dozen
  •  $2 Hot dog and drink combo
  •  25¢ fry cone
  •  60¢ ice cream cup

“Cornwall’s been my hometown for 53 years. I’ve got a pretty good business going,” said Allaire. “I’m feeding a lot of people here, but a lot of people are going hungry. So I’m giving back from what I have.”

It’s not the first time Allaire has supported the Agapè Centre. He hosted free hot dog days for the charity last year which raised over $800, and he dropped off a generous truck load of food at Corus Feeds Kids stuff the bus event this past June.

We’re really grateful for the support Mike has given over the years. Third party fundraisers like this are a huge help to keeping our shelves stocked with good food – especially during summer months.

Allaire partnered with other local businesses to help with the event.

“The food cupboard is in much need. I thought this was great idea,” said Bob Stevenson, Store Manager of Wholesale Club.

Wholesale Club is supplying drinks, ice cream and volunteers to help serve up the grub – and even helped with the planning.

“Agapè is an integral part of Cornwall and Séguin Patate is an integral part of Cornwall. The Wholesale Club is affiliated with both parties and we just wanted to do our part in celebrating the 60th anniversary and letting Agapè benefit from Mike’s goodness,” said Yvon Larocque, Assistant Store Manager of Wholesale Club. “We’ve all been affiliated with Agapè at some point and to some degree. It’s just a win-win.”

Allaire thanks Cardinal Meats for supplying the hot dogs and Betty Bread for donating the buns.

Séguin Patate is located at 921 Marlborough St N.

Job Posting: Executive Director

The Agapè Centre is a non-profit organization governed by an all-volunteer board of directors and a professional staff. With a budget of close to $1 000 000 we rely solely on community donations, generous funders, individual donors and hundreds of volunteers.

The Agapè Centre is the largest food bank and community kitchen program in Cornwall, Ontario supporting over 1200 clients each month. We provide emergency food relief and clothes for those who need it most. In addition, we partner with local community organizations to address the issues we have locally.

The new Executive Director will be a proven leader with a history of success, an excellent communicator and a strong collaborator. The successful candidate will have a passion for serving the hungry consistent with the mission of the Agapè Centre.

The Executive Director needs to have great people skills and be comfortable with diverse populations including people who are homeless or going through difficult situations.

Specific skills include:
• 3-5 years of experience in planning and fundraising, managing staff, overseeing finances and working with boards
• experience in strategic planning
• demonstrated ability to lead an organization
• experience developing and overseeing a budget of $900 000 +
• successful experience in fundraising and grant writing from a variety of sources
• demonstrated ability to lead and manage staff and boards to foster teamwork
• strong listening, public speaking and writing skills in both official languages

Bachelor’s Degree, or equivalent post-secondary education, in business, social sciences and/ or extensive work experience in human relations, communications or business experience

Salary/benefits : Competitive salary and benefits package based on experience

Qualified applicants should submit their cover letter and resume via e-mail to Jim Healey, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Agapè Centre at on or before 5:00 PM on June 24th, 2016. Upon receipt of your information, you will receive a confirmation e-mail that your packet has been received. We thank all applicants and advise that only applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.

Executive Director Job Description

Stuff the bus – Corus Feeds Kids

Help us stuff this bus with food!

Fresh Radio 104.5 and Boom 101.9 are partnering with Cornwall Transit to host a food drive for us on Friday, June 10th. The bus will be parked in front of City Hall (360 Pitt Street) from 6 am to 7 pm.

We want to stuff every seat, cover every window, and block the emergency exit – so grab some non-perishable food and help us out!

The Agape Centre serves more than 1000 hungry people a month. Non-perishable and fresh food are greatly appreciated but items that are especially needed are rice, pasta and peanut butter. Please check the expiry dates on all your donations.

Fresh and Boom will be on site from 6am to 7pm, so come down with your donation! The stations will be broadcasting live, and will have some swag to hand out. With your donation, you can enter to win a pair of tickets to RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa on July 7th, featuring Billy Idol!

Right now we are most in need of:
Peanut butter
Canned tomatoes
Canned vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables
No child should ever miss a meal, so we’re doing something to make sure that doesn’t happen! Corus Feeds Kids!

New board members needed for dynamic and diverse leadership

With three board members ending their term, chair Jim Healey says they are looking for “a few good people” to re-energize the board.

“We need community members with a passion for helping the disadvantaged, especially around food security and social programs, to reenergize the board,” Healey said.

The board of directors is made up of volunteers who set the tone and direction for the local food bank and community kitchen, providing oversight, leadership and guidance.

Healey, in his 5th year as board member, is active in community events, fundraising initiatives, and is currently acting as Chair of the Board.

“For me, the issue of the working poor really touches me. There are people working but maybe at minimum wage, and they need a little leg up, a little help to get over the hump, and three or four days of food is sufficient to keep that family going,” he said.

Three directors have recently completed their term, and the team has already recruited one new member.

Rachel Larin, a mother of 2 young adults and a teenager, joins the board, offering a unique perspective as someone with lived experience.

With a bachelor’s degree from the University of Ottawa, Larin has worked with the National Aboriginal Women’s Association as Director of Communications, as well as a manager at St. Lawrence Parks Commission, where her biggest legacy was the implementation of the 1-800 reservation system.

But in 2005 Larin fell on some hard times.

After a difficult separation, she was left with a lot of debt and full custody of her three children, and needed a little help from her community.

“I couldn’t make ends meet,” said Larin. “On paper it looked doable, but my reality was that I was struggling to maintain a full-time job and still afford to feed my kids.”

As someone who visited the Agapè Centre food bank for a period of time, Larin says she can understand what people who are using the services are going through, and hopes to bring the link between front line services and the executive level.

“I want to offer my input based on my personal experience and to help bring ideas from the front line to the table,” she said.

Larin has volunteered at the Agapè Centre with fundraising events and Christmas basket registration. During this process people shared their stories of struggle, and Larin was happy she could genuinely say ‘I understand, I’ve been there, how can I help?’

“I’m coming in at a time when there are so many changes and opportunities,” she said.

Larin brings experience in fundraising, grant application writing, strategic planning, and marketing and communications,

“In this role, I can hone my skills and pay it forward,” she said. “I’m hoping to make an impact and help move the organization forward.”

Board membership is comprised of up to 10 directors, including 4 executive roles. Each member can serve a total of six years consecutively (3-year term renewable once).

The team meets monthly 10 times a year, and its committees (fundraising; strategic planning; membership; governance; budget and finance) meet on an ad hoc basis.

Healey says serving on the board is a great opportunity to give back to the community and open your eyes to some of the social issues that exist here that we may not be aware of.

“This role certainly puts that right in your face,” he said.

The chair also noted that some great additions to the board might include people with backgrounds in areas like project management, accounting, nursing/medicine, dietician, social work or mental health field.

The board plans to enter into strategic planning process this fall, so interested community members are encouraged to submit an application by June 13 for consideration before the summer.

For more details on the role, click here: Board Member Job Description

Click here for  Board of Directors Application Form

For more information or to submit an application, please contact Jim Healey, Chair of the Board of Directors at

Canstruction Cornwall 2016 Competition Results

The inaugural ‘Canstruction’ Cornwall competition raised over 12,000 cans of food for the Agape Centre.

The cans were delivered to the Agape Centre on May 2 and the food is already filling the food bank shelves at a time of year when donations are very low.

The six participating teams came up with a design, purchased hundreds of cans, and then built the structures in less than 12 hours.

The winners of the Canstruction Cornwall 2016 design and build competition are:

People’s Choice Award: ‘Spiderman’ by Cornwall Rotary Interact Clubs
This structure was voted the public’s favorite by donation. It was a pretty tight race, and this award category really brought out the competitive side in our teams. In total, the structures collected more than $1,300 for the Agapè Centre, and the winning structure raised $350. This structure was a perfect fit with the CAPE weekend that took place at the Benson Centre during Canstruction.


Structural Ingenuity: ‘Spiderman’ by Cornwall Rotary Interact Clubs
Presented to a design that contained little props, only permissible materials, and has a high level of difficulty and skill. It was particularly impressive, since it was built by our youngest team, made up of high school students, a few of their teachers, and mentors, along with an engineer. It was also the largest structure.

Jurors’ Favorite: Episode VII: The Cans Awaken: The BB-ATE Droid by Professional Engineers Ontario, Upper Canada Chapter
Presented to a structure that was creative, grabbed attention at first sight, was an outstanding design, and made a lasting impression on our panel of judges. It had a creative play on words for its name and description, and even incorporated a projector light into the structure.


Best Use of Labels: Episode VII: The Cans Awaken: The BB-ATE Droid by Professional Engineers Ontario, Upper Canada Chapter
Presented to a structure that utilized each label to form every detail of the structure. They took great care to position their labels precisely. And while this detail was not shared with the judges, it should be mentioned that this team actually had to change their food order after their design was complete because the food company changed the colours on many of the labels they originally chose.

Best Meal: A Local Pint – BEERgon Canstruction Team by Bourgon Construction
Presented to a structure that contained nutritional ingredients, and particularly lots of great protein. This team took care to think about what food would be beneficial to the food bank. The structure itself was an homage to a local small-batch brewery that uses food sourced locally. And it’s interesting to note that one of the members of this team is actually a volunteer at the Agapè Centre’s food bank.

Honorable Mention – Kids’ Favorite: ‘KIN der garden’ by Kinsmen Club of Cornwall
This structure was special because many of our volunteers at the voting table talked about how much the kids in particular loved this structure. It was right at their level, they loved the colours, and the smiley faced details taped to the cans.


Honorable Mention – Community Innovation: ‘Seaway Bridge’ by WSP/Architecture 49
This structure deserves special recognition for tying in the community aspect of this competition. This team engaged the community they work with, and secured sponsors to help purchase the food cans. Then, they incorporated their supporters into the structure by painting and pasting their sponsors’ logos onto the trucks included on their structure. Their design description was also beautifully written to capture the importance of community, connections and bridging gaps.


Thank you to everyone who helped make this first year a success: teams, sponsors, volunteers, community partners, and everyone who came out to vote.

Canstruction Thank you Ad Final

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