This past year has been busy and productive.  Once again we were very successful in receiving grants and our volunteers and staff helped us to develop and offer new and expanded programming.

We received a $5,000 Wellness Grant through the NB Government and $2,300 from Compass Group to continue to expand our food bank and community garden.  Through the United Way Day of Caring volunteers, we built eight 8’ by 4’ raised garden beds which were available to rent for community members.  Four of the boxes were rented and the rest were used by the food bank to grow veggies and to demonstrate square foot gardening.  We enlarged the food bank garden and herb gardens, planted strawberries, pineberries, and blackberries, built paths, and built a three bin composter.  We held a workshop on how to make a three bin composter, how to compost properly, and how to make your garden more productive.  Bad weather impeded our garden but we were still able to supply produce to be distributed through the food bank and used in cooking classes.

We again received a transportation grant from Food Banks Canada.  The grant provided monies to help offset the costs of trucking bulk food from Moncton.

We received a $1,364 grant from the Wellness Branch, Department of Social Development NB, to provide 10 weeks of yoga classes free of charge.  The program also included a nutrition component where we had a nutritionist from the public health visit twice to lead discussion groups and answer questions.  We had 19 people sign up for the program.  When the grant was completed we hired a yoga instructor and have so far successfully offered two 8 week courses, one hour a week, for $50 per person.  If anyone is interested the next course should begin on June 7.

For the past 4 years we have received funding from the United Way of Greater Moncton and South Eastern NB.  This past year we received $32,500 towards Anne’s salary and to assist us with expanding programing.  These funds have made a huge difference to Pedvac.  Without Anne assisting me I would never have been able to secure the other grants that keep us going and that allowed us to develop the garden, build the kitchen, and repair our building.  Our United Way Funding lasts for 2 more years and then we will apply again.

NB Children’s Foundation continued their support of our youth programs and this past year increased their grant to $18,000.  This organization whose first monies came from the NB Protestant Orphan’s Home in Saint John has been a huge supporter of ours for years.  We have also received grants from Mazon Canada, a Jewish response to hunger, for many years.  Their funding comes from encouraging Jewish people to give donations as wedding, bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah gifts.  This year they donated $2,500 towards purchasing food.  J. E. A. Crake Foundation, a foundation set up by a Mount Alison University professor, gave us a grant of $2,000.  They too are long-time supporters.

Atlantic Windows has also been a faithful supporter donating $2,000 per year for many years.  Other businesses, not-for-profits, and individuals in the area continued to donate funds and in-kind items.  Without all of these sponsors we would cease to exist and we thank each and every one of them for their support.

We continued to work with other agencies within south-eastern New Brunswick to represent our area and to ensure that we are a part of what is happening in the region.  I remained on the board of Westmorland Albert ACTION, a cooperative working with the New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Network, and on the board of the Port Elgin Regional Health Clinic Advisory Committee.  Anne Goodwin has been active with District 5 Food Banks attending meetings.  Anne has also been representing this area on the Tantramar Community Health Action Committee on Food Insecurity.  Anne and I attended a workshop, Live2Lead, which was designed to equip us with new leadership skills.

This year we joined the Inmate Volunteer Program of Westmorland Institute and from June to December we had four different inmates work with us on Thursdays and Fridays.  The program is part of the integration process for inmates to return to society.  Petra, Holly, Anne and I were trained on how to supervise them.  The program turned out to be an incredible success for everyone.  We received so much help that we never would have gotten and the inmates were given the opportunity to give back to society. We were amazed at how grateful the inmates were to be given that chance.  They donated crafts that they made to sell to raise money for Pedvac.  They rushed to help people unload donations and to help food bank clients to take their boxes to their cars.  They built benches, tables, chairs, trellises, birdhouses, and arbors for the garden.  They cleaned, sorted, lugged and lifted, peeled vegetables for the adult cooking class, helped to make tickets, folded pamphlets, etc.  They did everything we asked them to and the whole program enriched our lives in a way I find hard to describe.  They were men that were frustrated by the boredom of their lives in minimum security and they relished the opportunity to assist us and to feel a part of a positive team.

As always our volunteers gave their time and support in phenomenal numbers.  11,371, a 22% increase, volunteer hours were given to Pedvac.  Those hours are the equivalent of 1,421 eight-hour working days or five and a half fulltime employees.  I could never stress enough how much those volunteers and their dedication means to Pedvac.  Their commitment demonstrates what a caring community we live in and without them Pedvac would cease to exist.

This past year we have had youth volunteers from the Port Elgin Regional School.  Each Wednesday at noon, members of their Me to We Program walk to Pedvac to help clean, organize, work outside, etc. over their lunch hour.  The Me to We Program encourages youth to volunteer in their community and we feel privileged to be part of it.

The members of our board of directors are a perfect example of the community’s commitment.  Petra Sudbrack, Alison Scott, Charlotte Stanton, Emma Cormier, Brenda Trafford, Joyce Baxter, Pat Legere, Jan Legere, Holly Chapman, and Stanley Dixon not only direct Pedvac but they also cut out mittens, sell raffle tickets, run craft booths, pick up supplies, help give out Christmas boxes and the list goes on.  Thank you to all of you for your support.  This year Cathy Consentino and Vivienne Edwards have stepped down from the board.  Thank you so much for your work on behalf of Pedvac.  Your input was greatly appreciated.  This year we are pleased to welcome Charlene Cullen, Peggy Bray, and Debbie Goodwin to Pedvac’s Board.  We know that you will be great assets to Pedvac and that you will enjoy your time with us.

I must take a few minutes to talk about what Cathy Consentino gave to Pedvac during the past 19 years.   Cathy became a board member in 1998 and served as president for 17 years.  During that time Cathy gave Pedvac an incredible amount of volunteer time.  She worked on fundraising, board management, grant applications, staff supervision, and numerous other administrative duties.  Cathy introduced the wool mitten program to Pedvac and she assisted in getting us the United Way funding.  She cut and sewed mittens, spent many hours shopping for sweaters for Wool to Wishes in the US, baked, helped at the Lupin Fair, sold many Dream Vacation Tickets, etc.  She dedicated an incredible amount of her time and resources to Pedvac and we definitely would not be where we are today if it weren’t for her.

One of the memories that sticks out the most for me was when we first started selling Dream Vacation tickets door to door.  Cathy and I would head out in the November and December evenings trying to sell our quota of 10 tickets per evening.  I remember slipping and sliding around Murray Corner in the dark trying to sell those tickets.  When we sold the first one we would sing in the cold van:  On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me, a partridge in a pear tree.  Second ticket – On the second day of Christmas – well you get the idea.  We fell down icy steps, fell in driveways, and slid all over the place but we would not give up.  That is how dedicated Cathy was as a Pedvac volunteer.  Thank you Cathy, you demonstrated what true devotion to an organization consists of.  I wish you could be here tonight to receive the recognition you deserve.

Lastly, I would like to thank our staff members:  Anne Goodwin, Susan Allen, Cheryl Harrison, Valerie Kaulback, Linda Chapman, Marieanne Vella, Holly Meehan, Pam Trenholm, Noreen Brammah and Amy MacDonald.  You each bring your special talents to Pedvac and we appreciate all of your work.

You all volunteer to assist outside of your paid work and we value that loyalty.  In particular I want to thank Anne Goodwin who juggles all of the requirements of operating the food bank and working in the office.  Anne’s job requires extraordinary organizational skills, the ability to walk a tight wire of deadlines while balancing twenty other tasks, and the enough patience to deal with me as I fling out requests for figures for one project or another.  We would never have come as far as we have in the past three years without you Anne.

Pedvac is many different things to many different people.  We are held up as a model throughout the province and further away and we should all be proud of our achievements.   I consider it a great honour to represent Pedvac and I thank everyone for their continued support.

Respectfully submitted,

Val MacDermid

Executive Director