PEDVAC ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING May 21, 2015
Some of this report may sound a bit familiar as it refers to items that Cathy has put in her report. However, I believe that these deserve a second reference as they are so important.
This past year has been full of additional renovations to our building. In order to achieve these improvements we have received additional funding from the Federal and Provincial governments along with Foundations, businesses, and individuals.
Our success in completing the work we have done so far has formed important partnerships for Pedvac. We finally completed the repurposing of the foundation walls when we received a grant to rebuild the cold room which is under the original front steps. This room is brand new and the ending of its leaks now means that our building is finally dry. We also received the monies to install two large heat pumps and remove the old oil furnace. This move saved us a considerable amount in our heating costs, approximately 63%, or $2,628. We are not completely sure of this amount as we had such a harsh long winter which made it difficult to accurately compare usage to the previous year.
Not only are we concerned with making our building sustainable for a long period to come but we also need to tailor our facility to house increased programming. Since its inception in 1984, Pedvac has always provided programming to assist our clients to improve their quality of life. Like many food banks we are now turning our attention to food security and empowering our clients to be able to provide their own healthy food. We have begun construction of a food bank kitchen which will allow us to provide more cooking classes to our clients and to house our Youth Cooking Club. The kitchen should be completed by mid-June with most costs being covered by grants.
This past year we again held a Crock Pot and Spa event. Eight individuals came to Pedvac for the day to learn how to cook easy nutritious meals from scratch. Volunteers provided 8 different recipes, found 8 used crock pots, and taught the women how to make all of the recipes. We wanted the day to be a learning experience and a fun day away from the normal stressors of life. While the eight meals were cooking we gave each participant a hand wax and then provided them with a nutritious lunch. We provided gift bags including items donated by Pedvac supporters and a small gift certificate to our Boutique. In the afternoon everyone participated in yoga and a session of art therapy provided by professional volunteers. Babysitting was provided and all of the participants enjoyed the day very much. This was the second time that we provided a proactive food preparation class and we hope that there will be many to come. One of the participants from the previous year’s crock pot class now has four crock pots that she has been given or purchased and uses them frequently for her large family.
In keeping with this program direction we are beginning to institute a community garden and park. EOS Eco Energy installed a rain garden in the ditch by the road. We have received a grant from Food Banks Canada to pay for most costs for the garden.
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.
During the year, we provided the Kids have Stress Too Workshop that ran for four evenings. The staff and materials were provided by the Canadian Mental Health Association. This workshop is geared for parents or guardians of children from Kindergarten to Grade 5 and teaches them how to help their children reduce and cope with their stress. Again free babysitting was offered. We also provided a day long course for not-for-profits on how to successfully use social media. This workshop was funded by the New Brunswick Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities. In conjunction with Open Sky, a not-for-profit located in Sackville which works on mental health issues, we offered a two day Mental Health First Aid Course at a cost of $20 per participant. This course would normally cost $175.
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 continued to sit on the board of the Westmorland Albert Community Inclusion Network, 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 and on their subcommittee for mental health initiatives. I also participated in Horizon Health Network’s Community Advisory Committee. Anne Goodwin has been active with District 5 Food Banks attending monthly meetings. Finally I attended a Poverty Summit held in Ottawa with funding provided by the Community Inclusion Network Cooperative Board that I sit on. Much emphasis was placed on the upcoming Federal election and how we must bring the problem of poverty to the forefront of election issues. As the quote on our wall by Nelson Mandela says “Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.” While we continue to assist those living in poverty it is essential that we work on regional, provincial, and federal levels to eradicate poverty. It will not happen tomorrow but it is attainable.
During the past year, Wool to Wishes, our social enterprise which makes and sells items from preowned wool and fleece, has continued to expand. We now employ one fulltime and three part time employees through this program. The employment we have been able to give to people who are able to work at home has made a large difference in their lives. We sold 1,279 pairs of mittens, 21 baby hat sets, 3 purses, 23 sleeve extensions, 5 baby booties, 59 leg warmers, 40 adult and youth hats, 5 baby mittens, and 2 boot cuffs. The three latter items were new this year. Our marketing plan was completed but we have not yet been able to cover all of the employee costs. We will continue to work towards this goal by expanding our markets.
As always our volunteers gave their time and support in phenomenal numbers. 8,875 volunteer hours were given to the agency – the most we have ever received. Those hours are the equivalent of 1,153 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.
The members of our board of directors are a perfect example of the community’s commitment. Cathy Consentino, Alison Scott, Charlotte Stanton, Emma Cormier, Brenda Trafford, Rachel Morouney, Joyce Baxter, Vivienne Edwards, Pat Legere, Jan Anderson, Lisa Peters, Angela Forrester, Sherry Amos, Marilyn Prescott, Holly Chapman, and Petra Sudbrack 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 Angela Forrester, Marilyn Prescott, and Lisa Peters are stepping down from the board. Thank you so much for your work on behalf of Pedvac. Your input was greatly appreciated and you will be missed. This year we welcome back Jan Legere following a one year hiatus. Thank you for agreeing to come back Jan. We look forward to your input.
This year also sees the end of Cathy Consentino leading Pedvac through her position as president. Cathy has been the president of Pedvac for the past 16 years, an unparalleled amount of commitment. With Cathy at the helm, together we have continued to expand our programming and our expertise in operating a successful charity. We have doubled our staff and completely renovated the building. We have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide programming to the community. No other president has ever given so much of themselves to the betterment of Pedvac and we owe Cathy a huge debt of gratitude. It is a disappointment that Cathy cannot be with us tonight but a family illness has kept her busy for many months. When Cathy is able to return home we will have a celebration of her legacy as she so rightly deserves. Luckily we are not losing Cathy as she will remain on Pedvac’s executive committee as its Past President.
Lastly, I would like to thank our staff members: Anne Goodwin, Dianne Allen, Susan Allen, Crystal Murray, Valerie Kaulback, Linda Chapman, and Lisa Esser. You each bring your special talents to Pedvac and we appreciate all of your work. I consider it a great honour to represent Pedvac to the public and I thank everyone for their continued support.