WCFAC 2018: two natural disasters

KINBURN – A sure sign of an experienced board is the ability to hold an annual general meeting in less than an hour.

About 18 people attended the West Carleton Food Access Centre (WCFAC) Annual General Meeting held at the West Carleton Community Complex Wednesday, May 8.

“What a year,” WCFAC chair Mary Braun said. “Since our last AGM we’ve had two natural disasters in our community. Thanks to our group of dedicated volunteers, we were able to step up to the challenge.”

Braun was referring to last fall’s tornado that destroyed homes and farms from Kinburn to Dunrobin and this spring’s flooding which ‘makes 2017 look like a practice run.

“We’re still serving the flood affected,” Braun said.

Despite the increased need for food, the WCFAC is in good shape due to an increase in donations directly related to those two disasters.

“We have sufficient funds for operating this year,” Braun said. “We have a great fundraising team and thrifty shoppers. As you will see in the treasurer’s report, our financial situation is quite healthy compared to 2013.”

Because of that, the WCFAC did not apply for an operating grant from the city for 2019, but may apply again in 2020.

2019 treasurer Marilyn Robert, who has stepped down for 2020, reported the WCFAC completed 546 orders serving 140 households in 2019 – up slightly from the previous year.

Currently the WCFAC is fulfilling 50 orders a month, up from 40 in 2018.

The fundraising team of Pam Ross and Karin Smith reported on their year as well.

“This was the first year we didn’t have our info booth at the Carp Farmers’ Market,” Ross said. “It didn’t seem to make a difference.”

The team hosts three major fundraisers each year – a used book sale, Christmas market and radiothon.

The radiothon was traditionally held at Dunrobin Meat and Grocery and due to the circumstances created by the tornado destroying the building that hosted that event, it has been put on hold.

“Dunrobin Meat and Grocery is a big part of that event,” Ross said.

The book sale has been very successful.

“We love this event,” Ross said. “Customers are ling up out our door before we open. It costs us nothing and for three straight years we have increased our revenue.”

Ross also discussed the surprise, unplanned fundraising that happened at the Carp Fair immediately after the tornado.

“Both cash and food arrived until we closed,” Ross said. “We had to have two tractor trailers to hold all our donations.”

The WCFAC was able to donate $50,000 to West Carleton Disaster Relief as well.

This year’s WCFAC Book Sale will be held Sept. 6 and 7 at the Carp Agricultural Hall. The WCFAC Christmas Craft sale will be held Nov. 16.

Carp’s Allan Joyner gave a brief update on the Neighbourhood Tomato program. A community garden with free plots available to those who want them, that donates fresh produce back to the WCFAC.

For 2018, the WCFAC had income of $197,768 including $81,614 in food bank donations and $89,458 in disaster relief donations.

The WCFAC had $119,529 in expenses and donations in 2018 – $72,325 went to West Carleton Disaster Relief. The WCFAC still has $17,133 to donate to disaster relief.

The board will remain the same in 2019 save for Brigid Whitnall acting as the new treasurer.

Before the meeting was adjourned, Ross made sure to compliment the WCFAC leaders.

“Mary and Sharon (Roper) don’t stop and it’s 24/7,” Ross said. “Whenever I call to see what I can do to help, it’s already done.