2023 Community Food share board of directors The board of directors for 2023 was elected at the annual general meeting for Community Food Share which was held on Mon., March 20 in Williamsburg. From the left, front row: Dan Gasser, Dan Pettigrew. Second row: Leslie Johnson. Third row: Ernie Coumont, Jennifer Waldroff, Nathan Lang, Janeen Wagemans and JoAnn Houle. Absent from photo: Ellen Biemond, Julianne Staebler and David Horne. Thompson Goddard Photo

WILLIAMSBURG – Community Food Share (CFS) held their 2023 Annual General Meeting on Mon., March 20 in Williamsburg, at the J.W. MacIntosh Community Support Services Hall. CFS has served the local area for over 30 years, working collaboratively with people, organizations, and businesses to assist CFS clients experiencing challenges in their lives.

After a land acknowledgement and welcome from CFS chair Dan Gasser, several reports were presented to those in attendance. The first was the report from Gasser, who acknowledged the organization was able to serve people in need despite increased costs in areas such as food and utilities, as well as funding opportunities disappearing.

He attributed this to the increased generosity of people and businesses in the communities that contributed to the organization and the dedicated work of CFS staff and volunteers.

Gasser discussed how CFS had focused on some of the goals contained in a CFS strategic plan, which had been developed a few years ago. “The Communications Committee, run by operations, has done a tremendous amount of work over the past year delivering our messages,” commented Gasser. He continued the committee has worked to advise clients and the community on the services provided by CFS. He noted the Policy and Bylaw Committee has reviewed CFS policies and bylaws and refreshing them as needed.

The CFS Building Committee has reviewed capacity options and alternatives over the past year. Gasser noted there is the need to find a new location in Winchester, to both serve clients and provide warehousing for the food banks. He noted the committee has also “started assisting in finding a more permanent, accessible location in the North Stormont area that can eventually grow from being a ‘Satellite Location’ into a ‘Food Bank,” explained Gasser. He ended his report by thanking volunteers, staff, board members and expressed a special thank you to CFS team leader Jane Schoones and Amy Saunders, CFS Food Bank coordinator for their strong leadership.

Team leader Jane Schoones then presented her 2022 report, mentioning in the written report how the  CFS Vision is that “No person or family in our community goes hungry” and the mission of the organization is “to provide our community with access to healthy food. We do this by promoting the benefits of nutrition, by building partnerships, and by supporting our clients through a variety of life challenges.”

She noted CFS was “allocated approximately 18,500 lbs of food” through the Feed Ontario food programs included beef, egg, milk, chicken, and other food items and was based on CFS hunger count numbers. In December 2022, CFS hosted the Feed Ontario Roadshow at the location in Morrisburg which was designed to “bring awareness of Community Food Share” and raise awareness of services in the area.

The organizations that CFS works collaboratively with include Food Banks United, Second Harvest and received grants from Food Banks Canada and Lactalis Community Enrichment Fund. Schoones noted in 2022 Empty Bowls was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, as was the Spring Ticket Raffle, but the Fill A Bag campaign in May went ahead as did the 50/50 Raffle at Winchester Bike Night, the November Stuff a Cruiser and the Holiday Train events.

She noted the establishment of a pollinator and butterfly garden at the St. Paul’s Community Garden in Winchester, the Finch Garden Boxes as well as the Iroquois Garden Boxes and the opportunity to glean in the gardens at Upper Canada Village had occurred over the past year. Schoones mentioned it is expected as spring begins, the Grow A Row programs and community gardens will start again this year.

CFS programs for their clients include the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, Back Packs for the Homeless, Heat for the Holidays and Project Warmth, North Stormont Christmas Baskets, South Dundas Exchange, South Dundas Snowsuit program, North Dundas Christmas Fund and the partnership with local Lions Clubs to distribute to families and people unable to attend a food bank location in person.

CFS is “very thankful for all the volunteers” commented Schoones as she completed her report, mentioning there are always opportunities for those who wish to volunteer either on an ongoing basis or for individual fundraising events.

More information on Community Food Share can be found on its Facebook page and website located at www.communityfoodshare.ca.