main hospital building at night


CCH Staff Rally for Agape Centre in Heartwarming Holiday Food Drive


Written by President & CEO Jeanette Despatie and published in the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder on December 15, 2023.

The holiday season is a time to help those in need. For the staff at Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH), this is not limited to providing health care.

Motivated by recent events in our community and driven by their natural instincts to “answer the call” as healthcare workers, the compassionate team on our hospital’s Acute Medicine Unit in the Janet Macdonell Pavilion decided to step up and organize a food drive in support of the Agape Centre.

Frontline staff brought the idea forth to hospital management who fully supported the initiative. From there, staff worked as a team to organize and coordinate the rest, from contacting the Agape Centre to ensuring the bins could be delivered.

It wasn’t long before other departments took notice and also wanted to participate. Donation bins have been placed on every floor of the hospital and many departments are holding their own donation challenges.

CCH nurses Kara Macdonald and Amberly Coulter spearheaded the idea. Kara expressed gratitude for the support received and emphasized the importance of giving back to the community, especially during the holiday season.

“We thought it would be a great idea to choose a charitable organization in our community to give back this holiday season. With ongoing housing and food insecurities we knew that doing a food drive would be very helpful to families in need or those who are struggling with increased costs, which is what lead us to choose the Agape Centre,” said Kara. “Our team is not only dedicated to providing exceptional care but also to making a positive impact beyond our hospital walls. It's heartening to see everyone come together for a cause that benefits our neighbours in need.”

Lisa Duprau is the Executive Director for the Agape Centre and says the food drive at CCH is a testament to our caring community and it will bring much needed relief over the holidays as they continue to experience increased demand.

“The initiative underway at CCH is the perfect example of community spirit and support for people experiencing food insecurity. We are truly fortunate to live in such a generous community,” said Lisa. “2023 has been a challenging year for the Agape Centre as the number of people requiring food support continues to rise. In December of 2022 we were supporting 2,289 people monthly, we are now at 3,473 of which 1,260 are children. We have been innovative in expanding our services to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens. We now serve a hot lunch six days per week and have opened Kids Community Kitchen that provides a healthy breakfast for school aged children and a lunch for school. Our foodbank, which is open 5 full days per week, schedules an average of 100 appointments each day. Food drives bring in a large portion of the stock for our foodbank.”

The food drive isn’t the only thing happening at CCH to help those in need. Every year our Cornwall Community Hospital Foundation accepts donations for Sparky’s Toy Drive, an initiative coordinated by the Cornwall Professional Fire Fighters Association that provides brand-new toys to children in need. Fire fighters from Cornwall Fire Services picked up this year’s donations from CCH on December 15th accompanied by some holiday song and dance in our Main Entrance.

I am so proud that our teams have stepped up as a hospital family to make a positive impact. From doctors to our hospital foundation and admin staff, everyone is chipping in, showcasing our commitment to diversity and inclusion, spreading kindness, and promoting unity and equity. Initiatives like the Agape Centre food drive highlight our staff’s dedication to being caring and compassionate community members, both within and beyond our hospital walls.

Donated food items are set to be delivered to the Agape Centre in time for Christmas. If you find yourself visiting CCH in the coming days, feel free to bring a non-perishable item to contribute to our drive and help those in need. The bins are located on each level of the hospital outside of the elevators.

On behalf of CCH, we would like to wish everyone in our community a happy holiday season and a wonderful new year!