Canstruction Cornwall 2016 Competition Results

The inaugural ‘Canstruction’ Cornwall competition raised over 12,000 cans of food for the Agape Centre.

The cans were delivered to the Agape Centre on May 2 and the food is already filling the food bank shelves at a time of year when donations are very low.

The six participating teams came up with a design, purchased hundreds of cans, and then built the structures in less than 12 hours.

The winners of the Canstruction Cornwall 2016 design and build competition are:

People’s Choice Award: ‘Spiderman’ by Cornwall Rotary Interact Clubs
This structure was voted the public’s favorite by donation. It was a pretty tight race, and this award category really brought out the competitive side in our teams. In total, the structures collected more than $1,300 for the Agapè Centre, and the winning structure raised $350. This structure was a perfect fit with the CAPE weekend that took place at the Benson Centre during Canstruction.


Structural Ingenuity: ‘Spiderman’ by Cornwall Rotary Interact Clubs
Presented to a design that contained little props, only permissible materials, and has a high level of difficulty and skill. It was particularly impressive, since it was built by our youngest team, made up of high school students, a few of their teachers, and mentors, along with an engineer. It was also the largest structure.

Jurors’ Favorite: Episode VII: The Cans Awaken: The BB-ATE Droid by Professional Engineers Ontario, Upper Canada Chapter
Presented to a structure that was creative, grabbed attention at first sight, was an outstanding design, and made a lasting impression on our panel of judges. It had a creative play on words for its name and description, and even incorporated a projector light into the structure.


Best Use of Labels: Episode VII: The Cans Awaken: The BB-ATE Droid by Professional Engineers Ontario, Upper Canada Chapter
Presented to a structure that utilized each label to form every detail of the structure. They took great care to position their labels precisely. And while this detail was not shared with the judges, it should be mentioned that this team actually had to change their food order after their design was complete because the food company changed the colours on many of the labels they originally chose.

Best Meal: A Local Pint – BEERgon Canstruction Team by Bourgon Construction
Presented to a structure that contained nutritional ingredients, and particularly lots of great protein. This team took care to think about what food would be beneficial to the food bank. The structure itself was an homage to a local small-batch brewery that uses food sourced locally. And it’s interesting to note that one of the members of this team is actually a volunteer at the Agapè Centre’s food bank.

Honorable Mention – Kids’ Favorite: ‘KIN der garden’ by Kinsmen Club of Cornwall
This structure was special because many of our volunteers at the voting table talked about how much the kids in particular loved this structure. It was right at their level, they loved the colours, and the smiley faced details taped to the cans.


Honorable Mention – Community Innovation: ‘Seaway Bridge’ by WSP/Architecture 49
This structure deserves special recognition for tying in the community aspect of this competition. This team engaged the community they work with, and secured sponsors to help purchase the food cans. Then, they incorporated their supporters into the structure by painting and pasting their sponsors’ logos onto the trucks included on their structure. Their design description was also beautifully written to capture the importance of community, connections and bridging gaps.


Thank you to everyone who helped make this first year a success: teams, sponsors, volunteers, community partners, and everyone who came out to vote.

Canstruction Thank you Ad Final

Summer Student Job Position: Cooking Class and Gardening Coordinator

Job Position: Cooking Class and Gardening Coordinator

Summer Student Position

Terms:  June 13th to August 5th
35 hours per week
Languages: English, French would be an asset
$15.00 per hour

**Must be returning to studies full time in the fall.



  • Delivery of our Curious Chefs 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 Community Kitchen on a part time basis



  • 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.


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 27th, 2015 at 4:00 PM

Cooking and Gardening Coordinator Summer 2016printable job posting

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

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!

“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!

Sheldon1_Aug 31_2015

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. It also underwent some engine maintenance via a commercial truck repair company that keeps the truck running year-round. For those that might be interested in such repair services for your own commercial truck, you can find more information on Ferguson Truck Center here. You can also search around on the internet for a service local to you that could complete the truck repairs you require.

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

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.

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.

Agape Reno 2 Agape Reno 3 Agape 5

‘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)
Camera Pictures 032
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.