CORNWALL, Ontario – The community showed up in record breaking numbers to support our local Agapè Centre on Friday, June 14 at both the Murder Mystery Dinner and Stuff the Bus.
Stuff the Bus, an annual, all-day food bank fundraising phenomena, organized by Corus Entertainment, saw a City of Cornwall bus parked outside of Freshco and loaded multiple times with a total of 9,538 lbs of food. The fundraiser also received $1,850 in donations of cash and gift cards and $1,093 was raised through the Optimist Club’s BBQ.
“We are just so overwhelmed by the support of our community,” said Stephanie Nalepa, Fundraising Coordinator. “Everything raised through Stuff the Bus will make such an impact in our food bank and help support those in need in our community…we are truly very grateful for everyone’s generosity and support.”
The Agapè Centre thanked numerous event sponsors, volunteers, staff, the Optimist Club of Cornwall and past/present Board Members that contributed to bringing the bus to a brimming success. They also thanked Corus Entertainment, the City of Cornwall, Cornwall Transit and Jordan and Chris of Freshco.
“It’s just amazing the amount of people who have come (to show their support),” said Dan Belanger, avid volunteer, who assisted with the all-day event, all day. “It doesn’t matter if it’s $200 worth or a can of soup.”
During the evening of June 14, 135 super sleuths made their way to the Best Western where they enjoyed a four-course meal, the murder mystery show, a silent auction, 50/50 draw, door prizes and a fun photo booth with props.
“This year’s show “Hari-Karaoke” was hosted by BigTime Murder Productions. The show took place at “The Greazy Lagoon” as the proprietor, Manny Wicke, threw his first annual Golden Voice Karaoke Competition with a $100k recording contract up for grabs. As the night unfolded, we found out that one of the competitors had been murdered, and it was then up to us to help solve the mystery,” said Nalepa.
Nalepa said that the Agapè Centre serves approx. over 1,400 families a month. In May of this year, our local Centre saw 2,600 meals consumed and 1,300 individuals walked through the halls of the food bank to obtain necessary goods.
“The Centre receives no government funding or assistance and we do not receive money of any kind from those that use our services. So, the funds raised from this event will be a tremendous help in feeding those in need in our community,” said Nalepa.
Tickets to the event were $75 each and a total of approx. $5,500 was raised, contributing to an overall one-day fundraising total exceeding $8,000.
“You don’t understand until you actually start volunteering how grateful people are for it all. You see on a daily basis (at the Centre) how appreciative the people are, just the look on their face…we have amazing staff and volunteers there…they love their job,” said Belanger.
Nalepa thanked Bigtime Murder Productions, the Best Western, Cornwall Electric, Cornwall Gravel, MNP and Upper Canada Mortgage for their contributions to the evening event.
Last summer, the Centre asked for continued community support during trying summer months, and two young siblings, Jacob and Isabella Pilon, started the #20dollarchallenge that soon gained traction locally on social media. The siblings knew locals needed the service and many community members extended their support.