HOL’s AGM highlights year of growth

Above, All nine of House of Lazarus (HOL)’s board members were present for the mission’s June 5 annual general meeting held at Southgate Church in Winchester. Pictured in front: Darlene Simms (left), Rilla Seward-McShane, Debbie Poirier, executive director Cathy Ashby, Ross Bennett. Back row: Matthew Gates, Mark vanDelst, Diane Langton, Blair Paterson, and Mike Turcotte. Courtesy photo

WINCHESTER— Food Bank use at House of Lazarus (HOL) increased by 14 percent last year.

As HOL executive director Cathy Ashby reported at the organization’s June 5 annual general meeting (AGM), there was much growth in the last fiscal year, from increasing needs in both the food bank and outreach services to the addition of new programs to meet those growing needs.

Roughly 20 people attended the event, which was held at Southgate Church in Winchester. Attendees received an information package, which included HOL’s new 10-page annual report. The report can be found online at hol.community or by dropping by the Mountain-based mission during office hours.

HOL Food Bank fed 280 families (680 people) last year, representing an increase of 14 percent. Close to 3,000 people were helped through HOL’s outreach programming. Some of the new programs highlighted during the presentation included Crockpot Cuisine, Operafion Backpack, Handyman Heroes, and Places for People. While the first two programs provide extra food to those in need, the latter are focused on housing-related concerns, from helping with needed home renovations to creating affordable housing.

More than 400 clothing vouchers were distributed to food bank clients from HOL, Community Food Share (CFS), and the South Grenville Food Bank. Dinner on the House saw 3,300 meals served. HOL’s CRA Tax Program assisted 211 adults in filling out their annual tax returns. Project Warmth saw 150 families receive plastic window insulation kits in the fall, while 28 Food Bank families from HOL and CFS received one-month’s supply of compressed logs with the Heat for the Holidays program in December. Operafion Backpack provided a weekend’s supply of food to 112 students during the last quarter of the fiscal year, while 48 Food Bank clients received CrockPots, along with monthly recipe and ingredients, through the Crockpot Cuisine program.

Above, House of Lazarus (HOL) staff representatives Janet Carkner (centre) and Kim Merkley (right) presented executive director Cathy Ashby with a bouquet of flowers during HOL’s June 5 annual general meeting at Southgate Church in Winchester. Carkner and Merkley thanked Ashby on behalf of the staff for her generosity of spirit with staff, clients, partners, and the public. Courtesy photo

Ashby noted the work HOL does is possible because of the generosity of the community and the hard work and dedication of staff, volunteers and members of the board of directors. Without government funding, the mission’s main source of income is store sales, making up 57 percent of the annual revenue. The remainder comes from donations, fundraising, grants, and recycling sales. In addition to the 18 people on staff, there are roughly 175 volunteers who donate their time to making HOL, and its Linking Hands initiative, successful.

Aside from the addition of specific programs, a big change for HOL was an update to both the mission’s logo and website courtesy of Brittany Levesque, owner of The Cultivators. With input from staff, members of the board of directors, volunteers, and the public, Levesque designed a logo that represents HOL’s mission, vision, and values.

“Brittany has been a pleasure to work with,” Ashby said. “ I highly recommend The Cultivators when a graphic design team is needed.”

For more information on this or other House of Lazarus projects, please visit hol.community or follow the mission on Facebook.

Scroll down to share this article. Scroll down to search nationvalleynews.com. Scroll down to comment.