Walk with us: Coldest Night of the Year 2016

It’s cold out there!

On February 20th, The Agapè Centre is hosting the Coldest Night of the Year, a 2, 5 & 10 km winter walk hosted in 80+ cities across Canada in support of our work here in Cornwall with the hungry, homeless, and hurting.

GOAL: With your help, our goal is to raise $25,000 by February 20th, 2016!

HOW: To accomplish our goal, we’re looking for 20 team captains (of all shapes, sizes and ages) who will recruit 7-8 friends to their team, with a goal of raising $2000 per team. Of course, we’re also looking for a whole pile of walkers to join each of our teams and help us raise the funds.

TOQUE BONUS: Every walker who raises either $75 (youth 17 and under) or $150 (for adults) gets our famous Coldest Night toque.

For more info click here

Or contact: Alyssa Blais, Executive Director at 613-361-0332 or ablais@agapecentre.ca

Join us on Facebook!

A Holiday Thank You

The holiday season is a special time of the year for us at Agapè.

Sometimes we see people on their worst days – stressed, anxious, feeling a little hopeless and unsure of how they are going to make ends meet and get food on their table for themselves or their families.

Some moments it’s hard to see so many people right here in our community in need of a little help.

But we also get to see the best side of people: in their generosity and gratitude.

We are grateful for all of the ways that people support our services, and the thousands we help to feed every month.

Thank you for your time. Volunteers play a huge role in the delivery of our services. Thank you to our more than 80 regular volunteers, and also to those who help out over the holidays in our food bank and soup kitchen.

Thank you for your food donations. We are grateful for everyone who organized a food drive on our behalf. Many even called to ask us what we need most and collected those items specifically. Our shelves are full, and the food is still rolling in today. It’s been so wonderful to see so many fresh donations, too, like turkey, meat, and produce. This will help us throughout the winter months.

Thank you for your monetary donations. Because we buy in bulk and have the support of local grocers, we can multiply every dollar donated. And a special thank you to anyone who donated to our building campaign. We can’t provide our services without having a place to do so. Now, with our renovations complete, we have a safe, accessible, welcoming and dignified space.

Thank you for the gently used clothing, toys, household items, books and more. Your donations help keep our store stocked with incredible items, and allow us to give tens of thousands of dollars worth of clothes away for free to people who need it. The revenue from the store directly supports our services.

Thank you for your words of encouragement and support. We’ve been through a lot of changes this year, so that we can provide the best food and services as possible. The community’s support means a lot to us.

It’s so heart-warming to see the many ways that people give, and we appreciate every amount given to us.

We can assure all of our donors that what you’re doing matters – the people you are helping are always leaving here saying thank you. On a daily basis we hear: “Thank you for the delicious meal” and “Thank you for the groceries” and “Thank you for helping me” and “Thank you for listening”.

But we know we couldn’t do what we do without all of you.

From all of us at the Agapè Centre, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Holidays!

SLC Students host apple drive for Agapè

Bushel or bag, hand-picked or store bought – it’s all welcome.

On Wednesday November 4, students from St. Lawrence College will be collecting apple donations at Pommier Square (corner of Pitt and Second streets) from 12pm to 5pm.

Students from the school’s Community Integration through Co-operative Education (CICE) program have organized the event as part of their field placement.

“It’s important to help the food bank give out fresh food,” said Alexandra Levac, SLC student helping with the project.

CICE is a two year certificate designed for adults who wish to further their educational/ vocational training in a community setting. This is the first year CICE is offered at the college’s Cornwall campus. A fundamental aspect of the program is community placement.

“This project is a wonderful opportunity for our students to further develop and practice workplace skills while at the same time raising awareness and empathy for others,” said Victoria Workman, professor at St. Lawrence College.

And we are thrilled to partner with the college for the food-raising event.

People love getting fresh treats like apples in their food bags. We won’t have any problem using up all of the fruit donated – either giving them away in grocery bags, or processing them to use in the soup kitchen.

Thank you Andre Pommier for letting us use Pommier Square!

RBC Donates $10,000 to the Agapè Centre

Thank you to Cornwall’s RBC Financial Group for the $10,000 cheque. Donations like this help us feed thousands in our community. These funds will purchase food for both the soup kitchen and food bank.

Read more here.

“Sheldon and Friends” launch their annual food drive campaign

Sheldon Veenstra and his food-raising friends have a new goal in sight: 7,500 cans collected for the Agapè Centre.

This amazing young person has organized food drives every fall for our food bank. Last year his team surpassed their goal of 6,500 cans, and we have no doubts that they’ll reach their goal this year.

Sheldon is leaving for University soon, but that isn’t stopping him. He’s trained a new group to take over for him. And they spent at day at centre, volunteering in the soup kitchen and food bank to see where their food donations go, and who they are helping.

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As if that wasn’t enough, Sheldon dropped off a load of fresh, local produce for the food bank. There was kale, tomatoes, apples, carrots, beans, onions, celery, watermelon,and lettuce.

The food drive is off to a great start!

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Thank you to the “Sheldon & Friends Food Drive / La campagne de Sheldon” group. It’s energizing to see young people who care about those in need right here in our community.

Like the group and support their efforts here.

To read more click here
and here.

 

 

Hot dog days raised $950 for the Agapè Centre

Throughout the month of July, Séguin Patate, Cardinal Meats, and Betty Bread teamed up to give away free hot dogs to anyone who brought in a healthy food item or cash donation for the Agapè Centre.

The Monday ‘Hot Dog Days for Agapè’ at the locally famed chip stand brought in $950 and some cans of food, including generous cash donations from both Séguin Patate and Cardinal Meats.

“It’s for a good cause and it was fun doing it”, said Michel Allaire, owner-operator of the Marlborough Street eatery.

“We didn’t get too many food donations, but we sold close to 400 hot dogs,” he added.

The proceeds from any hot dogs purchased on the Mondays also went towards to the overall donation.

Both Allaire and Jesse Cardinal, sales manager from Cardinal & Son Wholesale Meats, were delighted with the community support.

“The Facebook stuff just flew around – we had a lot of shares and likes online,” said Cardinal.

We are so thankful to Michel and Jesse for organizing this fundraiser for us. The donations will help our food bank continue to feed many families in our community.

Pictured are: Michel Allaire, owner-operator of Séguin Patate, and Jesse Cardinal, sales manager from Cardinal & Son Wholesale Meats present a cheque to Gerry ten Brink, truck driver for the Agapè Centre.

Our truck has a fresh look – with space for sponsorships

truck 1 Truck 2There’s a new way for businesses to help the Agapè Centre bring fresh food to people in need.

Our pick-up and delivery truck was refinished with a large photo of fresh veggies and the Agapè Centre’s logo on one side, and a display of our resale store, New For You, on the other side.

The new look also features some prime space for corporate sponsorships.

“Since our truck travels around the city on a daily basis, it’s a moving billboard. It made sense to spruce it up in a way that shares our mission and vision, with space to generate some funding to support services through advertising,” said Johanne Gauthier, operations manager.

“Now the truck showcases what we are all about: good, fresh food driven by community support,” she said.

Between repairs, maintenance, fuel and insurance, it costs more than $12,000 to keep the vehicle on the road for a year. So the seven advertising spots on the truck will cover the annual operating costs, and then some.

The truck use has significantly changed over the past year.

“Before, it was mostly used to pick up donations for the thrift store. But now it is being used primarily for picking up fresh food for the food bank, soup kitchen, and some of our food programs such as TLC (Teach and Learn with your Child at the Early Years Centre) and the Curious Chefs program,” said Gauthier.

So far, we have four businesses on board: Bourgon Construction, Olymel, Cornwall Truck Maintenance, and Marleau Mechanical.

“Bourgon Construction is pleased to be involved in the restoration and renovation of the Agapè Centre’s building and are proud to support the excellent work they do for the community,” said the construction company’s President and Project Manager, Chris Markell.

The Agapè Centre will provide great care to ensure that the advertising spaces are not sold to two competing businesses.

“We’re the biggest food manufacturer in town, so it makes sense to support the food bank,” said Jay Willyard, plant manager of Olymel.

Gerry ten Brink has been driving our truck for eight years, and enjoys the opportunity to get out into the community and meet the people Agapè works with.

“The truck brings visibility and awareness to what we’re doing, so the sponsorships are a great way to show the community involvement of the businesses in the area,” he said.

Jason Pascheck, owner of Cornwall Truck Maintenance, explained that his company sets aside funds in the budget to support charities.

“Our father believed in giving back to the community and started donating to Agape years ago, and it has been a part of our business’ core belief. We’ve also been helping with Agape’s truck maintenance for years,” he said

There are only three spaces left, so any company hoping to see its logo traveling around the city every weekday, will have to act fast. The agreements are renewable on an annual basis.

“By buying an ad space on the vehicle, sponsors are directly helping us bring fresh food to local people,” said Gauthier.

We also hope the fresh look will help people to become more familiar with our thrift store that was rebranded last fall to the name ‘New For You’. Its sales provide a large portion of the Agapè Centre’s operating budget.

For more information about the sponsorship program, contact Johanne Gauthier at 613-938-9297 ext. 27 or operationsmanager@agapecentre.ca.

Best Western – Better World Fund donates $2,500 for food purchases

Thank you to Best Western Plus Parkway Inn and Conference Centre for applying to the Best Western – Better World Fund for the Agape Centre.

The $2,500 awarded will be used to buy food for the food bank.

Pictured are: Paul Levebvre (General Manager), Alyssa Blais (Agape Centre’s Executive Director), Adam Caskanette (Director of Sales and Marketing) and Anne Drouin (Assistant General Manager).

Read more HERE.

Hot dog days for Agapè at Séguin Patate

You’ll be there for your poutine fix anyways, so why not get a hot dog, free with a donation to the Agapè Centre, too?

The locally famed chip stand has teamed up with Cardinal & Son Wholesale Meats and Betty Bread for ‘Hot Dog Days for Agapè’.

Every Monday in July (6, 13, 20, 27) Séguin Patate will give a free hot dog to anyone who brings in a can of tuna fish, or a box of whole wheat pasta or a cash donation for the Agapè Centre, from open to close (11am to 9pm).

Once a year, Michel Allaire, owner-operator of the Marlborough Street eatery, likes to do something through his business to give back to the community.

“We came across a windfall of hot dogs from Cardinal Meats that couldn’t be sold, so I thought this would be a good idea,” said Allaire. “They didn’t want to throw out good food and were willing to donate, so we’ll do the work.”

The proceeds from any hot dogs purchased on Mondays for the month will also go towards to the overall donation.

Jessie Cardinal, sales manager from Cardinal & Son Wholesale Meats, says the company works with the local food bank and soup kitchen on a regular basis, so she knew this event would help the charity.

“It just seemed like a good fit. It’s always nice to help out knowing that what you’re doing is going directly back into our community,” said Cardinal.

Betty Bread will provide buns for the hot dogs.

“We really appreciate this initiative, and are thankful that they chose us to benefit from the event,” said Alyssa Blais, Agapè Centre’s executive director. “Everything they collect will go directly into our food bank and will provide people in our community with good food to feed their families.

The non-profit organization relies on the support from the community through donations of time, food, money, clothing and other household items in order to run its services.

“We wanted the funds raised to go somewhere it’s needed in the community, and the Agapè Centre is one of the best I’ve seen,” said Allaire.

Our doors are still open

Renovation projects are underway, but it’s business as usual for the Agapè Centre .

“We don’t want to close our doors to those who need us. It’s the whole reason we’re doing the work, and we are doing everything we can to keep services running,” said the Agapè Centre executive director Alyssa Blais.

The building will undergo many changes during the 18-week construction plan. The much needed infrastructure improvements include: removal of hazardous designated substances remaining in the 1950s-era building; replacement of the weathered main entrance stairs with a new ramp and stair; parking and walkway improvements; replacement of single-glazed windows and the building’s heating and ventilation systems, which have reached the end of their design lives; complete washroom renovations throughout the building to improve sanitary conditions and barrier-free accessibility.

The modifications will create a safer, more secure and warmer space to serve people in a more dignified way.

“Bourgon Construction, our construction manager, has been accommodating,” said Blais. “They understand that so many people rely on us, and they’re working to make sure that we can stay open during the process.”

Food bank and soup kitchen services will continue to be provided with regular hours, and the resale store ‘New For You’ will remain open (though a portion of the retail space will be sealed off temporarily).

‘New For You’ relies on its sales to make up a large portion of the operating budget for the charity, which provides food and clothing to more than 1,000 people each month.

“We NEED people to keep shopping in our store,” she said.

“Some days will be loud, and the store will lose some space for a while, but we want to make sure our customers know that our dedicated staff and volunteers will continue to restock the store daily.”

The building campaign is still ongoing, but the work had to be started in order for it to be completed by the winter, since the current heating system will not make it through another season.

“The Agape Centre is fortunate to be located in such a spacious, solid building, but having been built in the early 50s, with only patchwork renovations done over the years, the time has come for the replacement of most or all of the building’s main systems, along with improvements to accessibility,” said Chris Markell, Bourgon Construction’s President and Project Manager. “The management team prepared a list of priorities so that we could help them phase the work into cost-effective parcels.”

Work on the exterior west-side entrance has already begun. The stairs, vestibule and elevator have been removed, to make room for an accessibility ramp, thanks to a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

There are also some exciting changes to the way services are provided coming with the renovations. The food bank is being redesigned which will change the way it operates, and a clothing referral room, separate from the store, is being added so clients can come and shop for clothes with privacy.

“Bourgon Construction and Architecture 49 / WSP Group are proud to be working with Agape on the overall planning of this important community project,” said Markell.

Work is expected to be completed by the end of October 2015.

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To access the store, use the entrance on 5th Street.

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