Today CTV in Ottawa came to Cornwall and pointed to empty shelves. Yes times are hard, yes there’s probably more demand for food, but there’s some very big questions to ask.
Cornwall as a community has a history of being very generous for good causes, but poor management practices and cronyism has led to bloated payrolls, lawsuits from staff, and people being turned off to helping the facility.
One gentleman shared with me that after the Agape took $200K in cash from the city would stop donating. Another pointed out a local meat vendor that stopped donating. When we moved to Cornwall my wife called to volunteer for Christmas. We never got a phone call back; not even one to thank us for our interest, but that perhaps we could help in other ways?
The steep decline at the Agape really started after they changed directors. Someone was brought in that really wasn’t experienced running a food bank or working at that level with the community.
Someone with experience would know for example that if you show favortism to certain cliques that you risk alienating many other people. If you friends are tight in certain events instead of letting a broader scale of support make magic happen the chance of more people becoming supporters is greater.
We did a story last year on the Agape after our former sponsor, the Best Western requested it.
A very different picture than the one in the video clip in the CTV story. LINK
Do food bank shelves really empty to that degree that quickly if a facility is being run well? How many food banks rely on buying food as compared to gaining via donation even in trying times?
Cornwall is a very giving community. For media to come in from out of town and portray our city as not supporting a food bank without really digging is kinda irksome and unfair.
Food banks are critical to the life support of those in the community that need it most. They should never be political. There should never be cronyism involved.
Perhaps it’s time to review the pay structure there and decide if perhaps the payroll is a bit top heavy? Maybe more people can volunteer and some of those dollars go towards food? Maybe someone can be brought in to run the Agape that would reach out to all of the community instead of a selected few? There’s no good reason for the Agape’s shelves to be empty.
Sometimes what we see in the mirror isn’t flattering. Turning away or closing one’s eyes rarely resolves the situation.
Action is necessary. Community leadership is necessary. This report by CTV is the bell being rung. The community can and will pull together if the Agape Centre is cleaned up including maybe some of the long term board members who ultimately made the choice in who to hire to run the facility. Heck I’m sure after the CTV report there will be some short term improvement of donations. Like the gentleman said on camera.
If every person dropped off one can…
And finally isn’t it shameful that a city manager could cause over a million dollars in settlements and legal bills supported essentially by the mayor and council while people go hungry in Cornwall Ontario?
Maybe that’s something the people of Cornwall should think about come the next municipal elections….
Jamie Gilcig – Editor – The Cornwall Free News
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