It was a wonderful evening event planned by Nancy Waldschmidt, Volunteer Development Coordinator, along with the Brant Food For Thought staff, to recognize and show appreciation to the volunteers who are the backbone of the organization. “Brant Food For Thought takes the lead for student nutrition programs in Brantford and Brant,” said Gisèle Budgell, Program Director, when speaking to more than 100 volunteers in attendance for the evening. “You, the volunteers, are the hands and the feet of the organization that actually make the programs possible. We could not operate without you.” Budgell was quick to thank her staff team for their support and their dedication to the goals and objectives of the organization. Board President, Lori Henderson, was also on hand for the evening, and was thanked for the past 4 years at the helm of the organization, providing great support and direction.
Held at Rossini Lodge in Brantford, guests were treated to a delectable array of hot and cold appetizers prepared by Tom Mercante of Mercasa Banquet Services. Mercante is a also the Culinary Arts Teacher at St. John’s College, where they run a 3-day a week breakfast program at the school. Some of his students were on hand helping to serve delicious appetizers such as Shrimp Shots, Roasted Root Vegetable Curry Soup in a small cup, Spanakopita, Miniature Quiches and Chorizo Bites. A fabulous Charcuterie Platter of assorted cheeses, dried fruit and cured meats, along with fresh house made Foccacia, Grape Tomato and Bocconcini Skewers and assorted olives graced the center tables.
Nancy, along with Community Development Coordinator, Karen Gibbons, shared their appreciation to the volunteers during the formal portion of the evening. “It is so great to see so many of our amazing, dedicated volunteers here this evening”, shared Gibbons in her address to the volunteers.
“The words ‘Thank You’ do not seem to be enough to show how grateful we are for all that you do for our students in Brantford and in the County of Brant. We say thank you to the early risers who get up at the crack of dawn to prepare breakfasts, to the parents and caregivers who drop their children off at school, then stay to wash, chop and serve the healthy snacks or meals to the students”, continued Gibbons. She went on to thank all the volunteers involved in every aspect of running a student nutrition program–from Principals, to teachers, educational assistants, neighbours, church members and friends in the community. “It truly does take a village to raise a child, and we thank each and every one of you for being an integral part of our village.”
Nancy Waldschmidt took the opportunity to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication over the course of the school year. “From shopping to chopping, from kitchen to classroom and back again, we could not do what we do without you,” shared Waldschmidt. “Over 400 volunteers this year will have served over 1.2 million meals to more than 9,000 students, logging in over 38,000 volunteer hours. If we were to put a dollar value to those hours, it would be an impressive $775,000!” Walschmidt also recognized all the volunteers by years of service, starting at 5 years, 10 years and 15 years and over volunteer service. Each special group of volunteers made their way to the back of the room for a photo opportunity. Be sure to visit our Facebook gallery for all the pictures!
Special recognition was given to a volunteer, who stood out this year, as going above and beyond the call of duty. Cheryle Hewitson, Office Coordinator and in charge of the student nutrition program at St. Theresa School, was given this special honour. Thank you Cheryle for your continued dedication to the students of your school community!
Winners of the annual “Gift Basket Challenge” in conjunction with the Breakfast For Champions charity breakfast event were revealed at the volunteer appreciation evening. Congratulations to the following schools for their amazing contributions to the success of our annual silent auction event: Central School, third place, Agnes G. Hodge Public School, second place, and tied for first place were Paris Central School and Ecole Ste. Marguerite-Bourgeoys. Thank you again to all the schools and volunteer groups who contributed in any way to the basket contest and the most successful Breakfast For Champions event to date.
Waldschmidt thanked everyone for coming and closed with one of her favourite quotes by Sherry Anderson. “Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.”
Unable to attend the evening was King George School parent volunteer, Ruth Bond. Brant Food For Thought staff Nancy Waldschmidt and Karen Gibbons were on hand at a school assembly to recognize Ruth’s dedication to her school community. Vice-Principal Cam MacDonald was quick to praise Bond for her commitment to many activities in the school. “We know that Ruth is quite active in the school and deserving of this special recognition,” says Waldschmidt. “She’s not reluctant to take initiative, is willing, and goes above and beyond the call of duty.”
Thank you to all the parents and community volunteers, along with students, educational professionals and school staff who contribute in any way to providing safe and nurturing school environments where students are nourished and can work to their full potential. Thank you for making a difference!