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.


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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‘Curious Chefs’ is back – with a fresh twist

We are super excited to announce we will be offering two more sessions of our popular kids cooking program. And this summer, we’ll be taking food from garden to table.

Starting June 30, the 5-week cooking class teaches healthy eating on a budget, and focuses on kitchen safety, nutritious school snacks and lunches, portion sizes, the four major food groups, and food labels.

And of course, there will be plenty of cooking and eating.

New to the program this year is gardening.

In recent years, there has been an increased rise on the importance of the role of food in health and how food is grown and processed. Improving food literacy is important and will support healthier food choices in diet and better food skills. It matters to us and we want to continue providing these programs as part of our core services.

We like the ‘from garden to table’ concept – teaching children where food comes from, and hopefully inspiring a new-found appreciation for food.

Kids will grow their greens thumbs by spending the first hour of each session learning how to plant, tend, and harvest fresh produce in the Agapè Centre’s garden, which is filled with a few hundred plants donated by Transition Cornwall + and Hoople Creek Farm. The veggies they pick will be both used in their kitchen creations, and packaged to give away in the food bank.


A group from the Curious Chefs program cooking up some homemade chicken strips in the Agape Centre’s soup kitchen (Spring 2015)

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One of the first Curious Chefs groups having some fun prepping their meal (Summer 2014)

Chelaine Klauburg, the program facilitator who has a background in the culinary industry, is really excited to teach children about the importance of fresh foods and how rewarding it is to grow your own food.

The budding chefs will prepare an entrée and dessert at each session, with enough to spare to bring some leftovers home. Creative activities, like a weekly ‘Fear Factor’, will challenge them to try new or exotic foods, like kale, asparagus, or pomegranate.

Chelaine wants to help remove the misconception that it’s difficult to cook, and believes that kids who are comfortable in the kitchen are more likely to eat healthier food.

More than 75 young people took part in Curious Chefs during the summer of 2014. Parents of past participants have said their children are taking an active role in the kitchen, and are choosing healthier options for their lunches and school snacks.

Any youth between the ages of 7 and 16 can participate, free of charge.

The program will take place at the Agapè Centre from 2:00 – 6:00 pm on Tuesdays for ages 7-10 (June 30 to July 28) and on Thursdays for ages 11-16 (July 2 to July 30).

Registration opens on June 16. Forms will be available online and at the Agapè Centre’s reception desk (40 Fifth Street West). Sign up early. Last year the classes were completely booked within two weeks.

Since space is limited, priority will be given to those who can attend all of the sessions.

For more information contact reception: 613-938-9297 ext. 26.

Starting June 16, click here for the registration form.

Things are heating up at Agape

The Harold E. Ballard Foundation donated $50,000 to the Agapè Centre’s “Within These Walls” Building Campaign to help with the purchase of a new HVAC system.

The not-for-profit foundation’s mission to address social problems at their roots and to make a difference for those most vulnerable among us was a perfect fit with the local charity that works to make sure no family goes hungry or without the basic necessities of life.

“It’s very inspiring to receive a gift like this and we’re very grateful for the support of the Harold E. Ballard Foundation,” said Alyssa Blais, Executive Director of the Agapè Centre.

The donation came at an ideal time since construction for the five necessary major infrastructure improvements to the charity’s building is set to begin this weekend.

“The current heating system won’t make it through another winter, so even though we haven’t hit our target goal with the campaign we have to start the work now,” she said.

Along with the installation of a new heating and ventilation system, the Agapè Centre will undergo many other changes throughout the next 18 weeks, like the renovation of its washrooms (with an additional one added), the construction of an accessibility ramp at the store entrance, the replacement of windows and the redesign of its food bank.

“The generosity of this foundation is enormous,” said Blais. “This investment will aid us in creating a safer, more secure and warmer space for our most vulnerable people in our community.”

The Agapè Centre provides food and clothing to more than 1,000 people each month, and the modifications to the building will help the charity to serve people in a more dignified way.

Food bank and soup kitchen services will continue to be provided throughout the process, and the New For You store will remain open (though a portion of the retail space will be sealed off temporarily).

An innovative wave of charity

“Friendly fines” at Cornwall’s Wastewater Treatment Plant helped create a culture of respect – and a pretty sizeable donation for the Agape Centre.

Officials involved in the $57.5-million upgrade to the wastewater infrastructure, which was completed in November 2014 after two years of construction, agreed to pay up if they were late for project meetings.

The $2,790 contribution handed over at the plant during a special presentation Wednesday (May 27) will help the food bank and soup kitchen continue to serve over 1,200 people each month.

“We are so grateful that they chose us to benefit from this innovative way of giving,” said Kendra Smith, Agape’s volunteer coordinator.

Other companies that contributed included Alfa Laval Inc., CH2M HILL Canada, Hollen Controls Ltd., Selectra Inc., St. Lawrence Testing & Inspection Co. and Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies.

“The work the Agape Centre does is both inspiring and empowering,” said Morris McCormick, division manager, environmental services. “We hope the donation will help them continue the fight against hunger in the community.”

Note: This was an article in the Seaway News found here.

Pictured in the photo presenting the cheque to Kendra Smith, Volunteer Coordinator of the Agape Centre, are (from left) ‎Mike MacBride, Wayne Hollett and Rick Alt of W.A. Stephenson Mechanical Contractors, Dave Lemire and Dan Lalande of J.L. Richards & Associates, Bruce McDowell of Graham Construction and Morris McCormick and Pat Carriere of the City of Cornwall.