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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!

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.

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.

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).

Summer Student Job Position: Cooking Class and Gardening Coordinator

Summer Student Job Position: Cooking Class and Gardening Coordinator


  • Delivery of our Curious Chefs program
  • Delivery of our Around the Table program
  • Work with the Volunteer Coordinator to establish and maintain the garden in conjunction with the volunteers.
  • Develop and deliver a small program in conjunction with the Curious Chefs program that introduces children to the joys of gardening.
  • Other tasks as required by Volunteer Coordinator/Operations Manager
  • Relief work in Soup Kitchen/Food Bank on occasion


  •  Must love working with children of various ages.
  • Experience leading groups of children.
  • Ability to teach/instruct both children and adults in hands-on learning environment.
  • Must have a passion for cooking and gardening.
  • Ability to work with minimal supervision and take initiative.
  • Trustworthy, organized, flexible and have a positive attitude.
  • Someone studying in the field of education would be an asset.

June 15th to August 7th
32 hours per week
Languages: English, French would be an asset
$15.00 per hour
Must be returning to studies full time in the fall.


Please forward your resume and cover letter to Johanne Gauthier, Operations Manager at the Agapè Centre by bringing it to reception.

DEADLINE for applications: May 15th, 2015 at 4:00 PM

Click here for printable job posting: Cooking and Gardening Coordinator

SLC Business Student’s Placement Experience

By: Jillian Hendry

The following is a first hand account of the experience of Jillian Hendry, a placement student from St. Lawrence College who spent 2 days a week over the last few months with us. 

As a 3rd year student in the Business Administration program at St. Lawrence College, I knew I wanted to do my final year work placement somewhere where I was not only learning valuable business skills, but also somewhere I was making a difference in the community. I have always been interested in non-profit organizations, so when the opportunity to work at the Agapè Centre presented itself I couldn’t say no.

When I first walked through the doors at the Agapè Centre I had no idea what to expect. Although I had heard about The Agapè Centre and had read about some of the things they do, it did not compare to seeing firsthand how much work goes into providing people in need with necessities such as food and clothing, that I had so much taken for granted. After only working here for one day, the building, welcoming staff, and grateful clients had changed my entire outlook on life.

Throughout my time here at Agapè Centre I worked on a variety of different projects, and although I wasn’t directly working with the community, before starting each project, Kendra (the volunteer coordinator) always made a point of tell me how the project would benefit the clients, and the community.

One project I was able to work on was “Lunch Money Day” – a fundraiser that was geared towards providing individuals and families in our community with fresh and nutritious food from both the soup kitchen and food bank. I was able to work on this fundraiser from beginning to end, mailing out letters, following up with businesses, scheduling pick up times, and I even had the opportunity to get interviewed by TV Cogeco to talk about it and how people could get involved. Being able to work on a project from start to finish opened my eyes to just how much goes into one small fundraiser. I can only imagine how much work goes into the larger fundraisers that Agapè organizes every year.

Another project I was able to work on was interviewing volunteers and staff members to write profiles on them. After interviewing a few volunteers it became clear that although everyone started volunteering for different reasons, when asked why they kept coming back the same answer kept reoccurring- “because I enjoy it.” Not only did they enjoy the people they worked with, they loved the smile on the clients face when they received their meal, clothing or groceries.

While working here I was also able to work on a project that, in my opinion, should be one of the most important aspects of a food bank- providing clients with healthy, fresh, and nutritious food. My job was to create a contact list of farmers in the area in the hopes that in the near future Agapè would be able to work with farmers and educate them on the benefits of donating produce. This project is one of many ways Agapè is trying to make sure their clients are receiving the nutrients they need.

One of my most memorable moments here was when I was working in the food bank bringing groceries out to clients. After bringing the client their food I went to walk away and they stopped me and said “I just want you to know how much this means to me and how much I rely on this food to get me through the week.” That person continued on to say that when they were back on their feet they would donate anything they could to repay us. So many of us take food for granted and don’t think twice about all the healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables we eat, yet someone who has nothing is so grateful for the little they receive. That moment will stay with me forever.

This placement has taught me so much about what it really takes to run a non-profit-organization. Not only what you see when you use their services but what goes on behind that. I am beyond grateful to all the dedicated staff and volunteers here at Agapè Centre for being so welcoming and friendly the minute I walk through the doors.

Jillian Hendry, placement student with the Agape Centre who helped organize the Lunch Money Day, with the staff at Beaupre-MacKinnon Financial

Jillian Hendry, placement student with the Agape Centre who helped organize the Lunch Money Day, with the staff at Beaupre-MacKinnon Financial

The Agapè Centre would like to thank Jillian for the passion, professionalism, and incredible work that she offered during her placement. She was warm, friendly, and wonderful with everyone she worked with and served. Jillian was a tremendous asset, and we are thankful for all of the ways she helped. 

Thank you to everyone who made the Coldest Night of the Year 2015 a success!

It was a beautiful snowy night, and people of all ages bundled up and walked 2, 5 or 10km to help the hungry and homeless of Cornwall and area.

Our 120 walkers raised over $15,000!

A big thank you goes out to the 34 volunteers (including 4 police and auxiliary police officers), without whom the event would not be possible.

We would also like to express our gratitude to the business sponsors who helped make the event a success: Rona (5km), Bergeron Electric (1km), Cardinal Meats (1km), Sani-Sol (1km), Fantastic Cleaners (1km), Cornwall Business Machines (1km), and McDonald’s, Second Street (Rest Stop)

It’s not too late! You can still donate until April 10th.

Click here and here to read more about it
Click here for the full photo gallery on our Facebook page

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120 walkers and volunteers getting pumped up before heading out.

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The incredible team of registration volunteers.

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Our fantastically fun route marshalls who helped keep walkers safe and on course.

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Walkers from the Seaway Valley Community Health Centre.

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The team from RBC.

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Enjoying a free cup of coffee at the rest stop, courtesy of McDonald’s.

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The team of walkers from the Cornwall Public Library.

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The perfect way to end the evening: enjoying a warm chili dinner.

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Walkers of all ages joined us.

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Thank you to all our route sponsors!

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Walkers trekking down the snowy sidewalks of Second Street.

Cornwall’s Agapè Centre Named A Good Food Organization

Cornwall’s Agapè Centre has joined 36 other organizations from across Canada to work for a healthy and fair food system, and in doing so has been named a Good Food Organization.

“We are very excited to have been selected as a Good Food Organization,” says Alyssa Blais, Executive Director of the Agapè Centre. “We have been working hard to create a culture at Agapè which places a premium on delivering healthy nutritious meals to our clients.”

Good Food Organizations are making a commitment to offering respectful, responsive, and impactful food programs in their communities as a way of decreasing hunger, building better physical and mental health, and reducing social isolation. The program has been developed by Community Food Centres Canada.

“We launched this initiative to provide support and inspiration to organizations across the country, be they health centres, food banks, or community organizations, that are doing important grassroots food work,” says Kathryn Scharf, VP National Programs for Community Food Centres Canada. “We want to amplify these voices and program outcomes to show what effects an investment in healthy food can have.”

Community Food Centres Canada is a national organization with the mandate to work with partners to develop welcoming spaces where people come together to grow, cook, share and advocate for good food. People learn cooking skills and get their hands dirty in the garden –  in ways that expand their taste buds and help them make healthier food choices.

Good Food Organizations will gain access to centralized resources, customized training as well as a granting stream.

The Agapè Centre has undertaken a number of initiatives to support the concept of “good food”.  The Centre has created and maintains its own fresh garden, and it regularly receives donations of fresh spinach and other leafy vegetables from Smart Greens in Cornwall. It has been encouraging donations of healthy food items and wherever possible has been using fresh, organic ingredients in meal preparation.

“We’ve received over 10,000 pounds of vegetables from local farmers and gardeners this summer,” said Ms. Blais. “Marlin Orchards alone has donated thousands of pounds of apples.”

Agapè Centre staff have also been working hard to educate the community about the importance of healthy eating.

“Today, there is a lot more awareness about the benefits of making healthy food choices,” says Ms. Blais. “Good food leads to good health which creates more opportunity for personal growth.”

Giving Tuesday

It’s Giving Tuesday – a global day of giving – and we’re celebrating with our many regular volunteers, as well as a few special guests today.

The Agapè Centre relies on the community to give their time, food, clothing, and funds. Without this support, we would not be able to continue to serve the many families and individuals in need.

Today we are reminded of the many, many, people in our community who give.

Councilor Carilyne Hebert is volunteering this afternoon in the food bank, helping to give out packages of 3 to 5 days’ worth of groceries to people in need. With her is an Agapè vet, Remi Gillet, who volunteers every Tuesday.

In the kitchen, a team of volunteers from Paroisse Sainte-Thérèse-de-Lisieux helped to prepare and serve a hot lunch of beef stew, soup and dessert to about 100 people. Pictured are Rita Besner, Lise Leblanc and Diane Burelle from Sainte-Thérèse-de-Lisieux, as well as weekly soup kitchen volunteers Maurice, Cecile and Kaitlyn.


It’s easy to be a Hero

The Agapè Centre is thrilled to announce the launch of a new program that invites community groups to help feed those in need by sponsoring, preparing and serving a meal in the soup kitchen: “Hunger Heroes”.

Every day, Agapè serves a hearty and nutritious lunch to 100 or more people. For many, it’s their only hot meal of the day.

Four teams have already jumped on board to help eradicate hunger in our city, one meal at a time.

“It’s so good to see new faces volunteering in our kitchen. We wouldn’t be able to provide the services we do without the generosity of people in our community,” said Kendra Smith, the program’s coordinator. “The Hunger Heroes initiative is just one more way that people can give, but also have a meaningful experience.”

October’s ‘Hunger Heroes’ were Councillor-elects Carilyne Hebert, Justin Towndale, and David Murphy, and the Cornwall Community Police Service (CCPS).

Chief Dan Parkinson and his team of CCPS servers were happy to show another side of the badge: caring and compassion.

“There can be almost no greater cause than to satisfy the most basic human physiological need: hunger,” said Parkinson. “Food security has to be a priority for any caring community,” he added.

The complex issues of poverty and hunger can often seem overwhelming, but the Agape Centre hopes the Hunger Heroes program can show just how easy it is for anyone to help.

“Unfortunately, Cornwall has a high level of poverty, with a quarter of the population living below the poverty line. These are working people, people who have lost their jobs, those looking for work, seniors, those who depend on ODSP, and many with metal health struggles. When their very limited income just doesn’t cut it, the Agape Center is there for them,” said Carilyne Hebert.

Justin Towndale decided to take part in the program because he believes everyone in the community should have access to basic necessities. “I hope to raise awareness,” he said. “Most of the time, those who need assistance are invisible.”

Councilor David Murphy brought along two Cornwall Colts players to share the eye-opening experience.

“Participating in the Hunger Heroes Program allowed me an opportunity the get an up close and personal look at the clients that benefit from the food served,” he said. “It was my privilege to have taken part in such a program.”

Here’s how it works:
Teams arrive in the soup kitchen for 9 a.m. and spend the morning preparing lunch, which consists of a home-made soup, a main meal, coffee or tea and dessert. Then from noon to 1:30p.m., the volunteers serve the free meal they sponsored (which typically totals $150).

It requires a minimum time commitment, and the benefits largely outweigh any costs. ‘Hunger Heroes’ will see the tangible results of their day and will experiencing what something as simple as a hot meal means to someone who really needs it. Groups will not soon forget this enriching, empowering, and fun team-building activity.

The Agapè Centre invites community businesses, organizations, schools, families, churches, and other groups to consider taking part in this community challenge. For more information contact the program coordinator by phone at 613-938-9297 ext. 21, or by email at


A big thank you goes out to the first four Hunger Heroes, for responding so quickly with such care and enthusiasm.

2014_Oc16_CarilyneHebert_2Carilyne Hebert helps Agape Centre cook, Jayne Robins, prepare lunch.


2014_Oct 21_DavidMurphy1David Murphy and Cornwall Colts players proudly show off the fresh salad they made.

2014_Oct 20_JustinTowndale_1Hunger Hero Justin Towndale serves up lunch with Agape Centre volunteers.

2014_Oct 23_CCPSHunger Heroes from the Cornwall Community Police Service.

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