WCFAC donations up through COVID

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

KINBURN – The West Carleton Food Access Centre (WCFAC) enjoyed increased donations through COVID-19  attendees of last week’s (June 28) annual general meeting heard.

In 2020 the WCFAC, with provincial permission, chose to file their paperwork directly to its governing agencies. In 2021, the WCFAC hosted an online AGM.

Last Tuesday, the board held its first in-person AGM since 2019, and roughly 16 took in the meeting held at the West Carleton Community Complex in the Roly Armitage Hall. Most of the 16 in attendance were either fellow board members or WCFAC volunteers. One special guest, City of Ottawa mayoral candidate Graham MacDonald, also quietly listened in.

“I had the pleasure of attending last night,” Macdonald released in a statement the following day (June 29). “What a great group of people doing some very good work for the community. It touched my heart seeing all their hard work. Thanks for being so welcoming.”

MacDonald, according to his candidacy website, was at one time a resident of West Carleton.

Thanks to a charitable community, the WCFAC saw record donations throughout COVID-19, and that includes 2021.

Donations receiving tax receipts came to $111,440.25 in 2021. The WCFAC’s total income for 2021 was $158,781.02.

“It was another good year for donations,” WCFAC treasurer Brigid Whitnall said.

The WCFAC’s fundraising success meant the board cancelled some of its major fundraising events throughout COVID including its popular book sale and Christmas market. COVID prevented public events from being held, but the board felt they weren’t necessary either, thanks to the donations the organization received privately.

The WCFAC spend $31,057.42 on groceries and other items and $23,814.90 on its Angel Tree program and other Christmas expenses for a total of $54,872.32. A reconciliation discrepancy of -$5,180 noted on the 2021 ledger meant total expenses, including office and rent came in at $54,845.21.

The WCFAC served 300 people through 99 Christmas orders. Chair Mary Braun and vice chair Sharon Roper said the move to gift cards as opposed to actual gifts, originally done as a safer option in the era of COVID, ended up being a popular move.

“The gift cards went over well, because it allowed families to get exactly what they wanted,” Braun said.

This year the WCFAC plans in increasing the Christmas amount “to better reflect the rising cost of living,” Braun said.

At the end of the year, the WCFAC ended up with a net income of $103,926.81.

“It was a full year of COVID-19 restrictions,” Whitnall said. “We continue to see increased numbers since the end of 2021.”

Numbers of users plummeted during the beginning of COVID-19, due to what the WCFAC thinks was the government supports available. Early in 2022, users are trending up again. Whitnall said the WCFAC filled 52 orders in April of this year.

“We’re reaching pre-COVID numbers,” she said.

The WCFAC is also starting to feel the effect of rampant inflation felt by all Canadians this year.

“As all of you know, groceries have gone up in price this year,” Whitnall said.

The WCFAC has already received $38,485 donations in 2022 but have spent $10,000 more in groceries than last year at the same point ($27,000).

Both Braun and Roper agreed to remain on as chair and vice chair respectively in 2022. Whitnall will again be treasurer. Pam Ross will be auditor. Nicole McKenna will serve as secretary. Marilyn Hillier and Suzanne Lee will stay on as members at large. Father John Orban and Rev. Debbie Roi will serve as ministerial support. The WCFAC still has room for one more board member.

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