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Agape bringing CANstruction Competition to Cornwall

What can you make with 1000 cans of tomatoes, 400 cans of corn, 200 cans of tuna and 100 cans of beans? You will have to wait until April 16th to find out!

For the first time in Cornwall, teams of engineers, builders, designers, students and supporters plus more than 8,000 cans of food will converge at the Benson Centre this spring for Canstruction®.

Canstruction® is an international charity competition in which teams compete to design and build giant structures made entirely from full cans of food. At the close of the competition all of the food is donated to the Agapè Centre.

We’re really excited to bring this international event to Cornwall. It’s a fun way to raise some food for the Agapè Centre, at a time of year when typically donations run low.

And we’re eager to see the creations the teams come up with.

Teams will begin building their cansculptures on Friday, April 15th and will work through the night to have their structures – which can be as large as 10 ft x 10 ft x 10 ft – ready for judging Saturday morning.

The structures and will be on public display for two weeks, beginning 8:00 a.m. on April 16 through to April 30.

We hope everyone will visit the Benson Centre to see all the cansculptures and vote for their favorite to receive the People’s Choice Award.

So far, eight teams have committed to the challenge: Bourgon Construction, St. Lawrence College, Lowe Gravelle & Associates/EFI, City of Cornwall, Professional Engineers Ontario, Rotary Interact Club, Agapè Centre, and WSP/Architecture49 Inc.

“Our group’s mission is to help the community of Cornwall in any way we can. We strongly agree that hunger is a pain no one should feel,” says Thomas Devaney, St. Lawrence College student with the CCSF team (Cornwall Community Support Force), a group of five from the Police Foundations program. “We’re quite excited about this event.”

Teams contend for a title in five categories: Structural Ingenuity, Best Meal, Best Use of Labels, Jurors Favorite, and People’s Choice. The winners locally will move on to the international competition.

There is still time to register. If you can dream up a design, make a plan, fundraise cans, and assemble a group for the build, the organizing committee will make sure you have an engineer to mentor you.

Community partners include Seaway Express, Baxtrom’s Your Independent Grocer, National Grocer, and No Frills.
Canstruction® is a fun way to help our neighbors so no one goes hungry.

You CAN make a difference. One can at a time.

Canstruction® is a non-profit organization in which teams of architects, engineers, construction firms and students compete to create giant structures made entirely out of canned food. After the event all food is donated to the local food bank. Canstruction® was founded in 1992 by the Society for Design Administrators and has since raised nearly 30 million pounds of food for local communities around the world. Canstruction® is one of the largest internationally recognized food drives of its kind. For more information, visit: cornwall.canstruction.org

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

Responsibilities:

  • 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

Requirements:

  •  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.

Terms:
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.

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