WILLIAMSBURG – Community Food Share is gearing up for another year.

The organization held their annual general meeting at the J.W. MacIntosh Centre in Williamsburg.

Among the highlights a new board of directors was selected. The new collective includes: Dan Gasser, Ernie Coumont, Diane Lacasse, (secretary), Julieanne Staebler, Jim Wilson, (new chair), Jo-Anne Houle, Joanne Havekes, (vice chair), Wendy Weagant, (treasurer), Coleen Brock, Jim Millard and Terry Triskle (past chair). Departing after serving for 10 years was Celeste Guse.

Terry Triskle then delivered his final report as chair: “In 2018 we began some new programs that offer additional services such as suggestions for food preparation, assistance with income tax filing and community advocacy to the users.”

Triskle said in 2018 the total number of client visits was 1,672, which included both one-time and recurring visits by client households. They provided food hampers to 5,248 resident in Dundas and South Stormont.

The organization served also 342 unique households in its catchment area.

“That was a decrease of approximately seven per cent from 2017 and the total number of children and adults and children served in 2018 was down approximately five per cent from last year,” he said.

When it came to their budget, Triskle was clear about the fact that they had experienced an operating loss in 2018 that was significantly greater than had been anticipated.

“This was despite the fact that our revenues matched the budgeted amounts for 2018,” he noted.

Of the loss, Weagant explained: “We began 2018 anticipating that we would need to use $7,700 from the previous years surplus to cover the cost of implementing Healthy Choices, our fresh food program. Essentially we budgeted for a loss of $7,700. In the end, the food cost more than we thought. Four thousand dollars that was received in 2018 had been promised in 2017 so under accounting rules for non-profits we had to do an adjustment to restate 2017’s income. That made 2017 look even better, but it also meant that 2018’s numbers were worse.”

There was a shortfall in the funds earmarked for the repayment of the loan to South Dundas.

“We needed $9,054 but we raised $5,800. When we moved to the old library site we underwent a nearly $50,000 renovation. We borrowed the money interest free from South Dundas over five years. At that time the board agreed that we would use our reserve funds (GIC) to pay for the renovation if we were not able to raise the funds in the community. This year we were short and needed $3,254 from our regular income to pay the loan. This contributed to our negative financial position. We have one payment remaining in December 2019 and we hope to raise the money so that we do not need to dip into reserves again,” Weagant said.

The overall financial struggle could lead to an alteration to the organization’s offerings.

“In the end, because of the increased cost of food, the shortfall in fundraising for our loan commitment, and the accounting adjustment, we ended the year with a deficit of over $16,000,” Weagant said. “We know that we cannot continue to operate at this level so we have implemented a new fundraising committee. If the fundraising committee succeeds in its goals, we will be able to provide the same level of service to the community this year. However, we may be forced to look at other measures to cut costs. The most drastic measure could be to reduce the amount of food given, or go back to less healthy options.”