Agape Centre celebrates volunteers

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Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario -The Agape Centre in Cornwall marked annual National Volunteer Week by celebrating the irreplaceable work that volunteers contribute to their organization.

Kendra Smith, Agape Centre volunteer coordinator, Marilyn Rondeau, Agape Centre Volunteer of the Year Award recipient, and Alyssa Blais, Agape Centre executive director.

"We literally could not function without our volunteers," said Kendra Smith, Agape Centre volunteer coordinator.

The local food bank and soup kitchen's volunteer recognition awards were handed out on Friday, April 11 at the Agape Centre in the St. Columban’s Room. The theme this year was: 'Volunteers create the magic.'

In February, more than 1,700 volunteer hours were given to the Agape Centre - the equivalent of 12 full-time employees.

"Volunteers play a crucial role at the Agape Centre," said Smith. "Oftentimes people come here as a last resource. For many in our community, we are the last stop, a place to get a hot nutritious meal, groceries, clothing, and compassion."

Certificates were presented to volunteers who have met milestones over the past year, celebrating one, five or 10 years of service. Each weekend soup kitchen service group received a certificate of appreciation. Last, but certainly not least, a volunteer of the year award was handed to each department, as well as the volunteer choice award (a volunteer nominated for recognition by a fellow volunteer).

The Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Cornwall resident Marilyn Rondeau.

For five years, she has volunteered for two days a week in the soup kitchen and one afternoon a week in the food bank.

"I love helping those who really need help. It's a good feeling," said Rondeau, 59. "A lot of people really need food in our community, and they're really nice people. Many of our clients come here for the food and stay for the company.

Whether it's serving hot meals, helping out at food drives or prepraring meal packages, she always keeps a smile to help motivate everyone around her.

"Head on down to the Agape, we need your help," she said. "It's this feeling you get when you help someone who needs it."

Alyssa Blais, Agape executive director, says Rondeau makes people feel welcome at the food bank and soup kitchen.

"We really appreciate having her," said Blais.

There were 10 awards handed out in total.

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