Alyssa Blais Panhandles Council – Should the Agape Centre Be Sold to Create a Fund to Feed Those in Need in Cornwall Ontario?

Alyssa Blais Panhandles Council – Should the Agape Centre Be Sold to Create a Fund to Feed Those in Need in Cornwall Ontario?

Alyssa BLACKCFN – Alyssa Blais is s lovely woman.   Kinda smart, nice most times when she’s not under the influence of people like Gilles Latour, but she’s caught in the headlights as her patronage appointment to run the Agape Food Bank facility has led to crisis within the community.

Ms Blais just went before council asking for $60,000 cash, probably enough to just about cover her salary.   For someone that’s being groomed for a council run, an odd gesture.

Agape sadly, under her management, has changed as you can see from this interview we shot for our former sponsor, Paul Lefebvre of  the Best Western in Cornwall.

Surely there’s a need in our city of 46,000 people as there are in most cities.    Surely a position of this importance should be given on merit and not cronyism?        Ms Blais shared the salaries paid out at the Agape which amount to over $500K per year.

You can feed a lot of people on those salaries and probably far better than some of what’s given out or fed at the Agape kitchens.

Ms Blais complained to the budget council about volunteers?  Volunteers are the backbone of strong communities.  Maybe the issue isn’t with the volunteers, but how they are treated?  Maybe some of the Agape’s best volunteers have left or are discouraged by Ms Blais’s team?   Again, shouldn’t it be part of her management team to build a strong corp of volunteers?

One anonymous former volunteer volunteered this comment:

They, in my opinion got rid of most of their volunteers to put in friends on their payroll. They kept the volunteers mentally or physically challenged as they get money to keep them

Ms Blais also complains about having to buy so much food.   Again, if stronger out reach into the community was made perhaps she’d get better results?

CFN for example is the largest newspaper in our city and we do not receive press releases from this group because Ms Blais’ feelings were hurt by our previous stories.    Who loses in the end?  Good professional management requires communications skills.   When CFN tried to organize an event when the video above was shot we were not met with enthusiasm so we let it slide.  (We wanted to sponsor lunches)

The question becomes why would this facility’s board allow cronyism to in the first place, and how can they justify their budget?

This scribbler looks at the numbers and I just shake my head.   If you can’t run this place with more volunteers and open up to the community so that they’ll publicly support it then it would probably be best to sell the facility and create a fund to feed the poor in Cornwall.

After all how many people a year rely on its services?  1000?  2000?  You can give out an awful lot of gift cards to grocery stores for the Agape’s budget.   Of course Ms Blais might not have the same platform to run on in less than two years, and she might have to find a non patronage job too.  (Her gig before Agape was via the graces of Bob Peters ( running the Business Development service thingy hosted in city offices)

Sadly some people in this city don’t get it.  If you are earning your bread on the backs of the tax payer you can’t play personal politics and silly monkeys.  You have to be professional.  You can’t exclude people.   You can’t just keep giving contracts and gigs out to your friends at the exclusion of those with talent.   You have to get tangible results.

Hopefully one day we get better at this.    In the meanwhile Council has to decide to scratch her a cheque for $60K or not while they are scrambling for dollars.

The last time Agape scored big with the city was in 2009 when Cornwall coughed up $200K something that caused many to stop donating completely.

The people of Cornwall; though not the wealthiest in Ontario are very generous; but if smells funky you get funky.

The poor should never be the fodder of political folly.    Those that need our help should receive it, and this sort of circus show should be fixed.    Agape either needs a new board or the current one to clean up its act and make sure that this desperately needed service is run properly.

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28 Comments on "Alyssa Blais Panhandles Council – Should the Agape Centre Be Sold to Create a Fund to Feed Those in Need in Cornwall Ontario?"

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garywsamler
Member
The Agape Center was originally set up as a temporary service provider to help the less fortunate people living in our community. Why now do they pay lucrative salaries to people working there taking from the people they are supposed to be helping. Paid volunteers are employees and not volunteers in my opinion. Maybe if faith based organizations living in our community were to step up more to take charge of the Agape and to run it more like the food bank in South Mountain using community unpaid volunteers and not crony employees the problems at the Center might not… Read more »
mariah
Guest

Great story CFN,thank you for bringing this to our attention….who knew!!! so much BS & under the table happenings in this city that keep the rich..rich & the poor even poorer

David Oldham
Guest
I second the great story CFN ! I believe it was just prior to Christmas that I read an article pertaining to someone connected to the Agape Center lamenting costs of food items. Being a savvy shopper a quick calculation determined that I personally without the benefit of buying wholesale would have paid roughly 40% less. I drew the conclusion rightly or wrong right then and there that there had to be some (mis)management issues with the daily operation of the center. My donations are now solely limited to my tax dollars that are given out so freely by the… Read more »
Mary Anne Pankhurst
Member

obviously hasn’t a clue how to develop a strategy.

obviously doesn’t know the organization she works for is one of many competing for charitable donations and volunteers.

obviously doesn’t realize CFN readers might do more if awareness was higher.

obviously doesn’t know how undervaluing volunteers makes for damaging word-of-mouth news

left-or-right
Member

Unfortunately, the Agape has had management issues almost since inception. Anyone remember the Snowsuit Fund and wonder why the Cornwall Lions Club, the founding sponsor, pulled the suits from the Agape location? Questionable behavior and this organization seem to go hand in hand.

Dave Windsor
Guest

Perhaps it is time that we closed places like the Agape and simply set up a system of Green Stamps such as many usee in the U.S.

Has this idea ever been researched? IF NOT, WHY NOT.

iF YOU OBJECT BECAUSE IT IS TOUGH LOVE AND INDIVIDUALS WOULD HAVE TO EXPOSE THEMSELVES MORE OPENLY WHEN COLLECTING THEIR TAKE AT LOCAL STORES THEN AS DO GOODEERS, WE BECAME AND CONTINUE TO BE PART ;OF THE PROBLEM.

lEAVING THE CUPBOARD DOORS OPEN ONLY BREEDS LOSES.

Time to come to grips.

Sick of Stupidity
Guest

Two other foood banks in Cornwall? I never realized that. Then why are we paying big bucks for Alyssa Blais and co.?!?!?!?!
You’ve got to be kidding me. These wages could go a long way to feeding some of the needy, especially the children! That’s when people stop donating. Again, another example of bad management, wasted $$$$ that could be better spent. There are lots of good people here in this town willing to help, they are just so sick of the mismanagement.

Hailey Brown
Guest
As I am sure we all know these scenarios are not unique to Cornwall. I know of instances where people working for places such as Agape, Salvation Army, Habitat for humanity, actually go through products donated and take the best for themselves. I have seen it done, or more so the result of it being done. That is something that would be very hard to eliminate as it is one of those odd human nature issues. As for paying a person to manage a volunteer organization, that in itself is wrong. It merely makes people such as local council, Mr.… Read more »
David Oldham
Guest
Perhaps it is time that we discontinued the practice of permitting OUR corporation (The City of Cornwall) to collect tax dollars with the purpose of making charitable donations on our behalf (as if we ourselves were not capable of this task). There are other organizations in place that could definitely meet the needs of our community if we backed them DIRECTLY as suggested by ADMIN. Does it not seem apparent to enough of our community that these duplication of services are placing a stranglehold on our ability to assist those in need ? Does know one consider the administrative costs… Read more »
kareen
Guest

get rid of allyssa excutive director and lori operations mananger and use there salaries to get whats needed

Dave Windsor
Guest
Some would have ‘faith based’ entities, visa a vie churches to basically fulfill their calling…the giving to and support of the needy. Many certainly do. Two problems come to mind with this expectation. 1) Churches have been downsizing due to a lack of participation. Upsizing their responsibility would over burden those dedicated to such a cause. Many do participate with the Agape now. Others as with the Sally Ann and virtually all churches now would seldom redirect those in need. 2) The dumping factor. The expectations of the community as a whole are misplaced as this problem is a community… Read more »
Sick of Stupidity
Guest

They are always looking for places for co-op students. They could work and earn credits.

Ed
Member
Dave Windsor makes some good points. I don’t think “faith based entities” should be depended upon to alleviate the misery that has been created by our economic ruling masters. By all means, they should be encouraged to help, with no religious strings attached, but they should not be expected to fix the problem. Canadian corporations are sitting on hundreds of billions of dollars thanks to tax breaks, while at the same time moving thousands of jobs off-shore where labour is cheaper. These corporations, with the aid of our political rulers, are the ones who have created this huge gap between… Read more »
Ed
Member

A key issue might be electing governments (provincial and federal) that do what’s best for ALL Canadians rather than just the corporate elites. The “trickle-down” economy has failed, except for the fat-cats who really run the world.

Dave Windsor
Guest
Somehow there has to be a way to provide A WORK FOR FOOD senario whereby a client can produce produce to receive produce. This phenomenal way of come in and get it for no return is as much causing the food bank need as it is in helping the client develop a self help confidence building sense of self worth. Hard to put it into succinct words or phrases without sounding dogmatic or demeaning to the issues here. Points or credits seem only to work for students for thier year at school. If points or credits could be given to… Read more »
David Oldham
Guest
ADMIN do you not truly believe that if the “Social Net” provided as close to the bare necessities as possible that fewer recipients would rely upon the system for a much shorter time? It would seem that this would provide a much greater reason to escape living on the bottom. I am referring, naturally, to people ABLE to look after themselves and not the TRULY less fortunate that we as a society ultimately do have a responsibility to look after. In my opinion when a system becomes a generationally accepted alternative life style, we definitely have a situation for concern.… Read more »
Ed
Member

@ Admin. I know whose fault it is, and it’s pretty clear that the filthy-rich keep getting richer, and the poor and homeless just get poorer and colder.
So far, the filthy-rich are winning, as always, because they have the power.
Food banks and homeless shelters are just band-aids to keep us from seeing dead bodies on the streets. That would be ugly.

Lisette
Guest
If Ms. Blais were so “nice and smart”, she wouldn’t be under constant scrutiny. This latest plea for OUR tax dollars is ridiculous. They just got an enormous amount from the Trillium Foundation some of which they plan to use to create two new positions; an assistant for Ms. Blais (at $18/hr) and a sorting coordinator. They just promoted two of their existing staff to Thrift Shoppe Supervisor (because apparently the one or two staff there need supervision) and a Sorting Supervisor. Why the need for a Sorting Coordinator? Couldn’t that money be put to better use? A research and… Read more »
Miss Steak
Guest

Ooh! Methinks there is something smelly in the kitchens of the Agape Centre; hopefully it will be rectified before Maggots begin to appear.

phoebe
Guest
I am not sure that this forum with 24 concerned people will help to enable a change at the agape center. It is very unfortunate that supposidly good meaning people, and “they” the agape center do sound like well meaning people, are so intent on hiring, when volunteers is what is needed. It would seem that new management is in order. There were openings for the board of directors, but one had to apply to Alyssa Blais. Does this make sense? I know a volunteer who was able and giving and helpful, but left because they were always negating her… Read more »
Ex Volunteer
Guest
I was at one point volunteering at Agape and was asked for my police clearance report, so I did in fact go to get it. I was told that the price for one for a volunteer purpose was free or reduced, I cant remember which. So I went to Agape and asked for a letter stating that I was volunteering there so I could get the report and was told that they would not give me a letter and didn’t need me to volunteer anymore?!?!?! I have always been a volunteer weather at my kids schools or charities or fundraisers.… Read more »
Ex Volunteer
Guest
I use to volunteer at the Agape for five and a half years. I was a Volunteer in the soup kitchen. I remember all the times the old cook would go in to the management team with problems that occurred In the kitchen like no hot water at lunch time, air conditioner problems, etc, but nothing was done. Agape desperately needs new management. Alyssa Blais has hurt so many people at the Agape center and I don’t blame them for not supporting the Agape anymore. As stated above “Get rid of allyssa executive director and lori operations manager and use… Read more »
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