This past year has seemed to fly by as we all worked to meet the needs of our community members.  Pedvac began in 1984 and many things have changed since then.  We have worked hard to keep up with current trends to offer the best possible programming and retain our status as one of the best examples, many say the best example in NB, of how a community agency should operate.

During the past year we again were very successful in acquiring grants.  We received $40,000 from the Greater Moncton and South-Eastern NB United Way (we received $10,000 of it after the fiscal year because of some internal changes with the United Way).  We were on our second year of our second three year grant from the United Way.  Without their support we would be no-where near where we are today.  They have provided much of the funding for our administrative assistant and for our Wool to Wishes Project.  Working with them for the past five years we have been amazed to learn how much they do in south-eastern NB.  Not only do they fund many agencies like ours but they run their own programs and give additional support to others such as Day of Caring.  We again participated in their Day of Caring where the United Way manages a huge program where businesses volunteers come to agencies such as ours to work for a day.  We planted the garden, cleaned the building, and painted inside.  United Way also paid for $500 of seeds for the garden.  It’s amazing what 25 pumped up volunteers can do.

Since 1984 we have been receiving funding through the NB Government under the Community Volunteer Action Grant.  For most of those years we received $21,224.  This past year the government changed the program to the Community Fund Resources Support Grant.  This was because they wanted to fund more innovative programming and there were more food banks requesting assistance.  The pot of money for this program was not increased so it was inevitable that our funding decreased.  We received $19,102 for the past year and have applied for the same this coming year.

We received a grant from Food Banks Canada and Compass Group to purchase and erect a 20’ by 36’ greenhouse for our community and food bank garden.  A half dozen volunteers spent a lot of time and energy to complete the project and by the fall we were able to grow crops of radish, carrots, lettuce, spinach, and other fall plants in the greenhouse.  This spring we have had volunteers starting plants indoors for us and we expect a garden that far surpasses any of our previous ones.

We received a $2,030 Wellness Grant from the NB Government to purchase handbooks and pedometers, supply food for snacks, and supply material and gas costs for Live Life to the Fullest Course given by the Canadian Mental Health Association.  This is an eight week course which is designed to help people feel happier, more confident, and to worry less.  This part of the course takes 1 1/2 hours per night and then the last ½ hour are presentations about various wellness topics such as yoga, art therapy, relaxation techniques, preventative actions for good health, etc.  We have 13 individuals taking part regularly.

NB Children’s Foundation continued their support of our youth programs and again granted us $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 increased their donation to $4,000 towards purchasing food.  J. E. A. Crake Foundation, a foundation set up by a Mount Alison University professor, again gave us a grant of $2,000.  They too are long-time supporters.  This year we also received a $1,000 eco360 Environmental Award for making outstanding contributions that have made a positive impact on the environment.  Our Boutique which recycles everything, our collaboration with L & L Trading who collects our unuseable material and then gives a percentage of their profit to the Red Cross, our rain garden which acts as a natural storm water management system, replacing our oil furnace with heat pumps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, our Wool to Wishes program which recycles wool and fleece, etc. brought us this award.

Atlantic Windows continued its $2,000 per year donation along with donating kindling for us to sell.  They also gave Lois Oulton, an employee of theirs, paid time off work to complete an art project with our crock pot class and donated beautiful aprons for the participants.  In addition they provided the first prize of airplane tickets for our Dream Vacation Raffle.  We are indeed lucky to have such a generous business located in the Village.

Again we had quite a bit of difficulty filling our Provincial Student Grant position.  In conjunction with the Baie Verte Summer Day Camp we generated a great deal of media coverage and were finally able to get a special grant.  We are hoping that the same situation will not arise this year but the same process is being used so I am not optimistic.

Yoga classes continued off and on as we have a core group of people who enjoy them very much.  We completed over 300 income tax returns for community members saving them the expense of paying an accountant.

Our regular fundraisers – the Dream Vacation Raffle, the Women’s Spa, our Patron Campaign, the Lupin Fair, and the Antique Market Canteen were also very successful thanks to the many volunteers who worked so hard.

EOS Eco-Energy brought materials and person power to Pedvac to work with our volunteers and staff for a draft proofing party.  We accomplished quite a bit and were surprised that we were able to decrease drafts by 18%. EOS offers this program to not-for-profits and low income individuals and I urge anyone that qualifies to take advantage of the program.

Businesses, other smaller 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.

Anne and I both took Financial Literacy classes which we are trying to work into our programming. We have also participated in several webinars to ensure that we are up to date on all of the issues we deal with.

We were very honoured to receive the Senate of Canada 150th Anniversary Medal for our community work.  Recognition is always appreciated and we thank whomever nominated us.  We also worked on some additional recognition projects this year.  We presented Atlantic Windows, the Port Elgin Regional School and the Amherst Superstore with thank you plaques for their continued support.  We also presented two of our regular volunteers, Norma Spencer and Ann Thomas with certificates of appreciation for their work in the Boutique.  We also distributed over 175 thank you cards to our volunteers this National Volunteer Week.

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. She also participated in a Food Bank Transformation Course.

We again worked with the Inmate Volunteer Program of Westmorland Institute.  The program is part of the integration process for inmates to return to society.  The program was again 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 hand dug manure into the garden, helped to fix things around Pedvac, worked on the greenhouse, built a rain barrel water collection system, weeded, etc.  Our garden thrived because of them.  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.  They are returning again this year because the administration at Westmorland Institute saw such a positive improvement in them after they worked with us.

Internally the board spent time completing A Strategic Plan for the next 3 years.  We also had a very active committee which is reviewing all of our programs.  You will notice that we were in the red this past year and this year’s budget is also a deficit.  Reality is that prices continue to rise and we have not been able to raise enough to cover everything.  We either have to increase our fundraising endeavours or make some tough decisions about programming. We would appreciate anyone’s assistance in fund raising ideas as we cannot continue on losing money.

As always our volunteers gave their time and support in phenomenal numbers.  9,288 volunteer hours were given to Pedvac.  Those hours are the equivalent of 1,238 eight-hour working days or five 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.  Petra Sudbrack, Alison Scott, Charlotte Stanton, Emma Cormier, Brenda Trafford, Joyce Baxter, Charlene Cullen, Pat Legere, Jan Legere, Holly Chapman, Peggy Bray, Debbie Goodwin, 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 we are pleased to welcome Darcie Kingswell and Cirra Lecour to Pedvac’s Board.  These women have been managing the garden for us and we know that they will be great assets to Pedvac and that they will enjoy their time with us.

Lastly, I would like to thank our staff members:  Anne Goodwin, Susan Allen, Cheryl Harrison, Becky Kenny, Valerie Kaulback, Linda Chapman, Marianne Vella, Pam Trenholm, Kristen Estabrooks, and Noreen Brammah.  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 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 five 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