PEDVAC ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING May 21, 2015
Good evening and thank you all for coming out to show your support for PEDVAC and interest in the past year. All I can say is LOOK AT HOW FAR WE HAVE COME!!!!!!! Just take a minute to reflect on the changes you see as you pull up the street, how lovely and energy efficient our building is now. This year saw the implementation of the last (we hope) two major upgrades, the installation of two heat pumps, funded for the most part by the Homelessness Partnering strategy with $37,061, and the repair and upgrading of the cold room downstairs to the tune of $33,930.90 plus engineering costs, again from the Homelessness grant. The heat pumps have allowed us to have the furnace removed and eliminate our dependence on oil. The cold room repairs have made a safe storage environment for much of the food bank supplies.
We have so much going on…. Our second crock pot cookery day was a huge success, providing the eight participants not only with a crock pot and recipes, but a full day of activities away from their normal routine – a feel good day.
We continued our trip into the twenty first century with a course on Social Media Networking held here last fall – quite eye opening for all as to possibilities available in cyberland. We were fortunate in the office to have had newer computers donated by Electronic Recycling of Alberta, where we paid only the shipping and the program installations.
We have begun to implement some of the goals incorporated with our Strategic plan – the blueprint for how we hope Pedvac evolves to best serve the community. We are installing in what used to be the Youth worker’s office a Teaching Kitchen, a long time dream. Robert Stright and his class of students at the NBCC in Moncton have made gorgeous custom cabinets for us, he will install them, and the United Way as a Day of Caring project will paint them. The United Church has donated a couple of stoves, so for minor outlay by Pedvac we will be good to go!!! This opens all kinds of doors for us, and will also lead us in some new directions. The primary benefactors immediately will be the participants in the Kids Cooking group….oh boy guys, roll up your sleeves and enjoy!!!!
Still on the short term list of goals is a Handicap accessible bathroom. We have gotten the quotes for the work and it will be a reality soon.
The Lupin Fair was gorgeous, well attended, and a financial success for us again this year. This is such an important event for the entire area, we are grateful to everyone who makes it a success, the Quilters, the Craft vendors, and all of the volunteers who supply floral arrangements, work the front tables, set up and break down. We owe a MAJOR thanks to Doris Pauley and all of the women in the church who run the canteen…such great food, and oh those smiling faces!!
Again we had a terrific bus trip with Vivienne Edwards our so capable and unflappable tour hostess. 35 participants went to the US on a shopping weekend and returned not just with material goods but memories of a lifetime.
Every year we groan about the effort involved in selling the Dream Vacation Raffle tickets, mostly on the part of Val and Anne it is to be fair, but every year it provides a major funding kick giving us just under $10,000 in revenue. Without the wonderful support of Air Canada and the other prize donors we would not have these very necessary funds for our programming.
Wool to Wishes is in its tenth year – can you believe it? We saw the realization of one of our major goals with the program this year, as we were able to hire three individuals in the community to assist in the production of the mittens. This was a major win for all involved. Three deserving people now have a bit more income, Dianne has mittens cut out for her, and Pedvac is reinforcing its mandate “To improve the Quality of Life in Our Community”. The craft fairs we attend with the mittens and the other wool products have expanded, sales were up and down this year, but we have also added more wholesale outlets.
The Christmas boxes are always a feel good part of the year for staff and volunteers and this year was no exception. Another feel good initiative is the on going school lunch program. We have a lot to be proud of here at Pedvac.
Val and Anne attended a Community Gardens Tour in Sackville this year and this has led to another initiative we will be implementing. We joined the Good Food Organization, and our membership has led to some positive changes in the Food Bank. We are purchasing more food from local suppliers and it is fresh food, local eggs and local ground pork. The community gardens facet will lead to Pedvac having its own gardens next year to raise fresh produce for the food bank – an extremely exciting initiative, and with some of our summer workers helping out it will not require the staff to be totally hands on in the gardens, however much they might enjoy it.
This is the third year of our funding from the United Way. How integral they have been in our growth and the definition of where we are going and how we will get there. One of the first things the funding allowed us to do was to create the position of Administrative Assistant, for which we hired Anne Goodwin. Could we have made a better choice? I do not think so. She has pitched in in a million ways from handling the food bank to freeing up Val’s time from every day office inquiries. Anne, you are the best, thank you so much for all you do. We are very fortunate with all our staff. Dianne is the artist who puts the fabulous mittens together – her color sense and dedication to the Wool to Wishes program has a lot to do with getting us to where we are now. Thank you so very much. Susan is capably in charge of the boutique. From learning an impossibly complicated new cash register system to dressing our display dummies and keeping everything organized and tidy. Thanks Susan for all your efforts. We had to say good bye to Nicole as our youth worker, she did an amazing job and we will miss her smiling face, but we were able to hire Crystal Murray who brings to the job her own special talents and vision. Already she is infusing the children with a sense of belonging and purpose…welcome Crystal.
Having Anne as an assistant has allowed Val the opportunity to do more of what an Executive Director is supposed to be doing….searching for grants and being the public persona of Pedvac, and she does this so well. Look at where we have come to with our building and our programming. And just think of where we can go. Val brings to her job an innovative and caring outlook searching for the best opportunities for this community and our residents, looking at people on an individual basis to see how Pedvac can best help. Thank you Val for being with Pedvac on this voyage, and making such wonderful things happen.
As always, at the core of Pedvac are the volunteers. I am not using adjectives like ‘wonderful’ or ‘caring’ to describe you, for they do not go far enough to describe the commitment you show to this organization, and hence the community. We have volunteers from all types of people, farmers who bring food to the food bank, boutique workers who sort literally tons of garments, summer people who take fabric home with them to cut out mittens over the winter, people who drop off mittens at stores…I could go on and on to list the contributions you make….. also the board members who give so willingly of their time, energy and resources whenever Val calls or even before!!!
Pedvac means so many things to so many different people… a haven, an opportunity to recycle unneeded household goods, a social center, a teaching place, a children’s safe zone, a place not to be hungry. Hopefully we will always be able to be sensitive to what the community needs, and as long as the caring and sharing so central to the core of Pedvac exists I am sure we shall. Thank you all so much. As always, it has been an honor and a privilege to serve as President.