CHESTERVILLE – Community Food Share, which provides emergency food aid to people residing in Dundas and Stormont counties, held their annual general meeting on Mon., April 19 via Zoom.

CFS chair Jim Wilson opened the AGM by thanking staff members Jane Schoones, Amy Saunders and Adelle Densham for their “commitment, compassion and creative problems-solving” by which CFS clients are able to receive the services they require. He then thanked “private and institutional donors,” acknowledging their “extraordinary generosity,” before acknowledging the “direct financial support from all levels of government” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that CFS provides support for almost 1,000 clients of all ages to secure healthy, nutritious food, and as well, the organization can provide support for clients “by advocating for them with landlords, utilities, social services, and other organizations.”

Treasurer Dan Gasser provided a Financial Report which included information on donations from the communities and various community organizations, noting that in 2021 COVID-19 is restricting fundraising activities. 

Following Gasser’s report, team leader Jane Schoones provided information on several aspects of services provided by CFS. Schoones reported some new CFS initiatives including the opening in February 2021 of the Williamsburg satellite, a 70+ Pantry Shelf providing food items for clients 70 years of age and over, and participation in “After the Bell” a summer program whereby “clients with school age children will receive eight weeks of non-perishable packs and fresh fruit and vegetables.”

After noting some staff changes, she described the response to the COVID-19 pandemic which included increased protocols in accordance with safety guidelines from agencies including EOHU, Health Canada and Ontario Canada as well as having the “food orders set outside on tables.  

While some fundraisers were cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, Schoones noted the Stuff a Cruiser event held in November 2020 went ahead as did the Garden Gleaning at Upper Canada Village and the CP Holiday Train was transformed into a virtual event. Schoones commented matching campaigns in the townships of North Dundas and South Dundas as well as donations form North Stormont and South Stormont resulted in just over $45,000 being raised. Grants and funding were provided by several entities including the federal government, Food Banks Canada Capacity Fund, Ontario Social Service Relief Fund and EDP Renewables as well as approximately 46,000 pounds of food from Feed Ontario.  She reported St. Paul’s Community Garden and provided “535 pounds of fresh garden produce.”  

The 2021-2022 board of directors include Jim Millard, Colleen Brock, Julianne Steabler, Ernie Coumont, Dan Pettigrew, Ellen Biemond with Jim Wilson serving as chair, Joanne Havekes as vice chair, Dan Gasser continuing as treasurer and Diane Lacasse secretary.