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“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.

 

 

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.

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.

Agape Reno 4

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

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Keeping it Fresh

Thank you to Hoople Creek, Transition Cornwall + and Bill and Karen Carriere for donating these beautiful vegetable plants!

We’ve added them to our garden, and gave some away through the food bank, and to gardeners who will harvest the food at home for the Agape Centre. We’re also adding a second garden on the side of the building for the plants that need more sunshine.

All of the produce harvested from the garden here will be used in meals in the soup kitchen, given away in the food bank, and used in the Curious Chefs kids cooking program.

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Food drive at 600 Glengarry Blvd

In just 3 days, residents of the apartment building collected 92 items for the Agapè Centre’s food bank.

The initiative was spearheaded by Vicky Farthing, who volunteers weekly at the centre providing help with administrative tasks.

On May 7, she tried her hand at volunteering in the food bank, and was moved by the amount of food that is distributed each day and the lack of school snacks on the shelves for children.

“I just saw that the food bank had a need for families and I put the call out,” said Vicky.

On Thursday night Vicky put a notice for a food drive in the lobby of the apartment complex where she lives, asking for specific items. She dropped off the donation on Monday May 11.

“I’m overwhelmed by the response of people in my building. Four of the women actually went out and specifically shopped for this,” she said. “It was beyond my expectations.”

The collection filled two large containers, and included items like school snacks, juice boxes, cereal, peanut butter and canned veggies.

“We’re so grateful for the generosity of people in our community, and for people like Vicky who do something when they see a need,” said Johanne Gauthier, operations manager.

Thank you to our friends at 600 Glengarry Blvd who are helping to feed the more than 1000 men, women and children in Cornwall who face hunger every day.

Community Food Program Donation Tax Credit Information Session

The Agapè Centre is hosting an information session for farmers about Ontario’s new Community Food Program Donation Tax Credit.

The Local Food Act, passed in November of 2013 allows food banks and community meal programs, like the Agape Centre, to give Ontario farmers a 25 per cent tax credit based on the fair market value of product that they donate.

Bill 36 is the first of its kind in Canada and aims at providing families with fresher, local, and nutrient filled food.

As a non-profit charity, the Agapè Centre wants to help make it easy for you to donate your products to our food bank, so that we can distribute more fresh foods to people in need.

Erin Lalonde, B.Comm., CPA, CA from Craig Keen Despatie Markell LLP will present, explaining how this incentive benefits farmers, and sharing details from an accounting perspective.

 May 5th from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
At the Agapè Centre (40 Fifth Street West, Cornwall)
Coffee, tea and snacks will be served
For more info or to RSVP: admin@agapecentre.ca or 613-938-9297 ext. 21

 

Farmers must meet the following requirements to qualify for the tax credit:

  • Ontario resident at the end of the year
  • You (or partner) carry on the business of farming in Ontario
  • Donated agricultural products to an eligible community food program in Ontario on or after Jan. 1st 2014

What types of products can farmers donate?

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Fish
  • Grains
  • Nuts
  • Herbs
  • Honey and maple syrup
  • Or anything else that is grown, raised or harvested on a farm and that may be legally be sold, distributed or offered for sale in Ontario

(Note: Processed products, including pickles, preserves and sausages are not eligible)

Lunch Money Day raised over $2,300!

The Agapé Centre’s Lunch Money Day held Thursday March 26th was a resounding success.

The event featured more than a dozen local workplaces pledging to bring their lunch from home and donating their usual lunch money. Some even used it as a chance to connect with coworkers and have a pizza party together.

When picking up donations we had the chance to talk to business.

“What a fun and simple way to donate to a great cause,” said Christine Doherty, Executive Assistant at Great Lakes Pilotage Authority.

She invited all of the staff to join in on a pizza day and donate what the felt they could. “The response was amazing,” she said.

The Lunch Money Day initiative was based on the “a little goes a long way” attitude. This fundraiser was easy and fun. By donating the money spent on a purchased lunch – just for one day – participants made a difference in the lives of people right here in our community.

“I really liked the idea when I first heard about it and immediately wanted to be part of it, so I reached out to my colleagues and was really pleased with the turnout. One co-worker even came in on his day off to be part of it” said Gabriel Rivière-Reid of TV Cogeco. “The organizers made it really easy to participate and the event was a lot of fun!”

We would like to thank everyone who took part and helped us raise $2,378 which will be put towards providing people with fresh and healthy food in both the soup kitchen and food bank.

Thank you to the following businesses, organizations and individuals:

  • Beaupre-MacKinnon Financial
  • TV Cogeco
  • CIBC
  • Fishrizzo
  • KIA Cornwall
  • St. Lawrence College
  • HollisWealth
  • Victim Services
  • SDG Legal Clinic
  • Notman Chrysler
  • Seaway Family Dental
  • Cornwall Dental Arts
  • Riverdale Terrace
  • Seventh Day Adventist Church
  • Great Lakes Pilotage Authority
  • Agape Centre staff
  • Carilyne Hebert
  • Chris Markell
  • Sherry Davis
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Staff at Great Lakes Pilotage Authority.

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

Lunch Money Day: BROWN BAG IT AND HELP FEED SOMEONE IN NEED

On Lunch Money Day, Thursday, March 26, 2015, the Agapè Centre invites you to “brown bag it” and donate the money otherwise spent on lunch in support of your community.

We know how much can be accomplished when a group of people give a little towards a greater cause – this is our motivation behind Lunch Money Day.

Anyone can participate – individuals, businesses, organizations, schools, friends, families.

Just by having lunch and encouraging your colleagues or friends to participate, you can help the Agapè Centre. Join groups and individuals all across Cornwall as they fight community hunger. And there are plenty of ways to have fun with the event – like organizing a pizza day or a potluck lunch.

Winter is a difficult time and hundreds of hungry families face a tough choice – eat or heat. The Lunch Money Day donations will go towards feeding our most vulnerable families and children in Cornwall. We provide healthy lunch meals daily, as well as nourishing groceries to those who need it most. The Agapè Centre distributes over 900 food items each and every working day, and of the 1000 plus people we help monthly, nearly 400 are children. The goal of all the programs at Agapè is to create an environment where people have more accessible, readily available nutritious foods to meet their nutritional goals on a daily basis.

Your donation today will put food on a family’s table tomorrow.

Here’s how it works:
1. Announce to your staff/friends that your organization/group is participating in Lunch Money Day on March 26th, 2015.
2. Put up Posters and pass out Lunch Money Day Giving Cards & envelopes (click to download)
3. Brown bag your lunch to work on March 26th, 2015
4. Feel great!

It’s that easy and since every dollar donated to the Agapè Centre generates five dollars worth of food into your community, just imagine what your lunch money can do!

Thank you to the following businesses and community organizations that have already signed up to take part :

  • Beaupre Mackinnon Financial
  • CIBC
  • Clinique Juridique S.D. &G. Legal Clinic
  • Cornwall Dental Arts
  • Fishrizzo
  • Great Lakes Pilotage Authority
  • HollisWealth
  • KIA Cornwall
  • Notman Chrysler Dodge Jeep
  • Riverdale Terrace Waterfront Retirement Residence
  • Seaway Family Dental
  • St. Lawrence College
  • TVCogeco
  • Victim Services of S.D.G. & A

If you or your organization plan on participating in Lunch Money Day, please contact Kendra at 613-938-9297 ext. 21 or volunteercoordinator@agapecentre.ca. We’d love to add you to the list, and help you make this event a success!

 

Curious Chefs Returns

The rumours are true: “Curious Chefs: Cooking Club for Kids” is back! This summer’s “sold out” program is returning for two more sessions starting this month, thanks to a generous donation from the Rotary Club of Cornwall Sunrise.

The 5-week cooking class teaches healthy eating on a budget, and focuses on kitchen safety, healthy school snacks and lunches, portion size, the four major food groups, food labels, and of course, lots of cooking and eating.

Each session, the budding chefs will make an entrée and dessert, with enough to bring home leftovers. The program offers many creative activities and learning opportunities, like a little “Fear Factor” every week.

Youth between the ages of 10-16 can participate FREE OF CHARGE, and will receive a kitchen starter kit (including a rice cooker) to take home at the end of the program.

The first session begins Tuesday February 24th from 4:00-6:30pm.

To register visit us in person at the Agape Centre (40 Fifth Street West) or call Louise at the reception desk 613-938-9297 ext. 26

Click here for more information

Check out some photos of our budding chefs from the programs this past summer:

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Reflections of a placement student

By: Kylee LeClair
Two years ago, I worked with the Agapè Centre for my grade 12 co-operative education, and was exposed to how hunger truly affects our community. It opened my eyes to what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was at a loss for what to do after high school, when my teacher suggested looking into becoming a social service worker. A spark arose in me and I was able to make sense of how I could apply my passion for helping others to my life.

I chose to do my college field placement this fall again with the Agapè Centre because it was where it all started for me. I want to share that experience, because I think it will help people to see another side of the agency.

The clientele they deal with is primarily those who I truly feel need the help. Poverty is a huge social issue and has impacted a lot of lives in Cornwall. The center provides basic needs like food and clothing to the community, which are much needed. Poverty and hunger can be a struggle in a person’s life, and they may feel ashamed of this. The centre provides them with a friendly support, where they can come and feel as though life is not so bad.

I spent 3 days a week for 4 months at the Agapè Centre, and I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of different clients and hear their stories.

The most significant moment that has stuck with me happened one day while working in the soup kitchen. I had grabbed the client’s meal ticket and gave her a friendly hello. She responded by saying “thank you.” As I proceeded to ask her why, she explained to me the importance of the soup kitchen in her life. She said: “Without this place, I would not be able to eat a full meal a day. The meals that Jayne (the head cook) prepares for us never fail me. They are always nutritious and very filling. I would starve without this kitchen, and for that, I thank you.” This moment will forever be with me. It really gave me a sense of joy that we were able to provide this woman with such happiness over a plate of food.

I’ve also had the chance to work in all departments of the centre – the soup kitchen, food bank, client services, thrift store, sorting, etc – and have learned how it functions together. Each different area is essential for the whole to flow well.

For example, did you know the money the thrift shop makes is fed into the soup kitchen and the food bank? If it weren’t for the community’s support by shopping in the store, there would be a lack of funding for the other services.

Working in the back sorting area allowed me to see the process of how they decide what stuff is in good shape for the store and what is not. The work almost seems endless, but the ladies in the back are very welcoming, and do an excellent job at working through the donations and getting the store stocked.

I really liked working in the reception desk and being the front line person. Everyone comes there – clients, volunteers, staff, donors – and I got to meet so many people. I liked talking with donors about why they give to the centre. I got to see a different side.

I was involved with the daily services, but I also got to take on some interesting projects of my own. I was given the opportunity to write a client survey for the food bank with my supervisor. We wanted to know how we can best serve the clients, so we brainstormed what questions needed to be asked. I created the survey and met with clients as they came in for their food bank appointments. Next semester I will get to analyze the results and recommend changes. It’s something the clients appreciated because sometimes they don’t feel like their voices are being heard, and this was an opportunity for them to give input. It was empowering.

I also worked at creating a mini cookbook that we hope will be provided in the food bank with each order, if the demand is present. It will have recipes for the basic items clients get in the food bank, the food guide, and a chart of the best seasons to buy fruits and vegetables. This booklet could be an asset to the clients because it contains the basic information about easy ways to eat healthy and cook on a small budget.

During my time at Agapè I have had endless encounters with the clients about the appreciation they have for the centre. There has not been a day where I have not heard “thank you, I really appreciate the help.” For this reason, I will always give my support to the Agapè Centre.

I could not be happier with my choice for field placement. It has assured me that this is the right area to be seeking a career in. I was losing my spark at the start of my second year, but being back in the place that opened my eyes to my passion of helping others reignited the spark.

I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to help the community. I have developed a drive to make a positive impact in the client’s lives, and I gained the skills necessary. I sincerely love what I am doing.

I look forward to continuing with the Agapè Centre for my second semester, and I’m excited about the new learning experiences I will encounter.

Kylee kitchenKyleedesk

 

 

 
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