Blessed ‘in the black’


The Dundas County Food Bank (DCFB) held their  annual general meeting on February 27th at the J.W. McIntosh Seniors’ Support Centre in Williamsburg.

Brenda Millard, board chair for the food bank, began by saying, “the word that stands out is blessed.”

She then revealed, “we did end in the black this year with our budget. So that’s a good thing.”

She quickly explained that being in the black does not mean that the DCFB has money sitting idle. Rather, “that money has to carry us into the next months, into spring.”

Millard reminded everyone that the focus of the food bank “is to give food to people who are without and we are able to serve our clients and that’s what I see as success.”

During her report as chairperson, she also revealed that she would be stepping down as chair, but would be remaining on the board for another year.

Referring to her start as chairperson, she said, “I was terrified.” And now, at the end, she admitted that “it’s been rewarding.”

In addition to this, Millard said she had been meeting with South Dundas council in relation to the Morrisburg location of the DCFB.

“When I spoke with Stephen McDonald (South Dundas Chief Administrative Officer), I was assured that they were keeping us in mind and that they would be helping us find a new location.”

While not confirmed yet, she revealed that council is strongly considering moving the DCFB into the SD&G library’s present location, ‘below’ the Morrisburg Arena. If this works out, the DCFB would share some of the space with the arena’s maintenance crew.

“It’s an excellent facility with some need for revisions,” said Millard, “but it is a handicap accessible, clean, well-maintained space.”

As for the Winchester location, 2012 is the year for the final payment on the $60,000 no interest loan. The township of North Dundas lent the DCFB money to purchase their May Street location five years ago.

In terms of numbers, Judy Hilson provided statistics for DCFB usage and Dave King presented the financial report.

Hilson revealed the differences in numbers of families served between January and December for a three year period: 2009 saw 1,726 families; 2010 saw 1,606 families; and, 2011 saw 1,665 families.

Of the 1,665 families served in 2011, 776 came from Winchester and 889 came from Morrisburg.

In addition to serving families throughout the two townships, North and South Dundas, the DCFB also serves a handful of families in Finch and Berwick. These towns are “kind of outside any area,” said Hilson, “so we’ve made an agreement with Cornwall.”

“We’ve had support from Finch: the Finch Lions, Catholic school, and BMO,” added Hilson.

Of the people DCFB serves, 42.3 per cent are children. At the Morrisburg location, children make up 44.9 per cent of those using the food bank’s services while at the Winchester location children make up only 39.5 per  cent of those using the food bank’s services.

Included in Hilson’s statistics are those families not living within DCFB’s mandated area who visited the food bank once in 2011. In this situation, “we don’t turn them away. We give them food,” she said. However, “they are encouraged to go wherever they’re supposed to go” for the next visit.

Along with being the DCFB statistician, Hilson is also the coordinator for the Winchester location of the food bank. Norma Smith is the coordinator for the Morrisburg location.

As for the finances, Dave King had great news for everyone. In 2011, the food bank reported $114,155 in revenue and only $95,886 in expenses. 

In addition, they raised more in revenue than they had originally budgeted for in 2011. For example, they had anticipated receiving about $80,000 in donations, excluding grants and fundraising efforts. Instead, however, they received $83,583 in donations.

As for grants, in 2011, the DCFB received $5,000 from RBC, $1,000 from Kraft Canada, $2,000 from the Canadian Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and $800 from the John Stewart Estate.

Millard repeatedly lauded the overwhelming support received from the public in all its forms: businesses, community groups, individuals, churches and so on. “I don’t hear of support when I go to other meetings like ours, not even from their councils,” she said.

“If we go to the community, they’ve always responded and without that support we wouldn’t be able to carry on.” 

As for expenses, the food bank received a ‘break’ on rent and utilities at the Morrisburg location. The township of South Dundas gave them a special dispensation eliminating the need to pay the fees.

According to King’s financial report, the majority of the expenses go straight toward purchasing food. Excluding extras like fresh produce, dairy or meat, the DCFB spent $132,072 on food in 2011: $73,125 in Morrisburg and $58,947 in Winchester.

Looking forward, Donna Quesnel, Administrator for the Dundas County Food Bank, reminded everyone that “we’re always looking for ideas in our community” for fundraising.

It was also revealed that the annual volunteer luncheon will take place on March 28th this year at the Christian Reformed Church in Williamsburg. According to Millard, the food bank has approximately 60 active volunteers.

Food bank hours are: Mondays from 10 a.m. until noon; Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m.; and, Thursday afternoons from 1 to 3 p.m.

For assistance,  to make a donation, or to volunteer, contact one of the Dundas County Food Bank’s two locations. The Morrisburg location contact number is 613-543-0065. The Winchester location contact number is 613-774-0188.

According to Quesnel, the Dundas County Food Bank is currently in need of the following items: cereals; canned veggies, including beans, carrots, and peas; canned pasta; canned fruit; soap for bathing; peanut butter; and, margarine.

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