Martin C. Barry
Despite an onerous weight of responsibilities over the past two years following the unexpected arrival of hundreds of refugees in Laval, Agape social services in Chomedey has closed last year’s ledgers with a surplus of around $10,000, which was slightly better than the year before when they just managed to finish in the black.
According to Agape secretary-treasurer Betty McLeod who presented the organization’s financial statements during their annual general meeting on June 20, Agape was able to report the surplus because a subsidy that had been overdue for a year finally came in.
Finished year in the black
“It was money that was owing to us from a year back,” she said, noting that receiving grants and subsidies late from various governments and agencies is an almost standard condition for charitable organizations.
“Had they not paid us we would have been in the red,” she said. However, if it’s any consolation, Agape finished the year a little better off than the previous one, when Agape reported just $2,165 left over when funding also arrived at the last moment.
“Very often when you’re running a charitable organization the problem is that funding promises always come in later,” said Kevin McLeod, Agape’s executive-director. “So very often you have to make your own funding to pay your employees because the funding doesn’t arrive until later.
Fundraisers are necessary
“As a result, you have to make sure that you cover yourself with your own financing,” he added. “Which is why Agape does so many fundraisers in a year because we have to auto-finance a big portion of what we do.”
Agape holds four fundraisers each year. The most successful of them last year was the Lois Hashimoto Annual Memorial Walk in September which brought in a net profit of $8,505. Although Agape’s Annual Golf Tournament was second most successful with a net return of more than $6,000, its future is currently under revision, although the 2017 tournament is still scheduled to take place on Tuesday Sept. 12.
The two other Agape fundraisers are the Denise Williams Annual Seniors’ Love Walk which generated a net profit of $3,611.55, and the Agape Annual Christmas Dinner which produced a profit of $2,224.00.
Valuable help to refugees
According to Agape’s latest annual report, the organization received 218 refugee families for a total of 719 persons between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017. Being the only English-speaking charitable organization in Laval, Agape was targeted as a centre of support and help for newly-arrived refugees and immigrants.
“We have been successful in providing members with food, clothing, furniture and services,” the report stated, while adding that a total of 1,401 food baskets were distributed at Christmas 2016 and the demands continued to pour in over the new year. The years 2017-2018 also promise to be challenging years for demands by refugees and immigrants.
“Our generous English speaking community, our Laval English schools, churches and private companies are the reason why we have been able to continue our mission,” said Agape. “We sincerely thank them all for their continued support and look forward to working with them through the new fiscal year.”
Transition House help
According to the report, refugees and immigrants continue to benefit from low cost housing at Agape’s Transition House, and the same services will be offered in 2017-2018. With the support of Health Services Canada (through the Entente Canada-Quebec), Agape received a $20,000 grant enabling the organization to work with the victims of dependencies on alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc. The project was approved for 2016-2017, but the 2017-2018 renewal remained unconfirmed as Agape filed its latest report.
The following people are members of Agape’s 2016-2017 board of directors: Gregory Young (president), Rev. Father Michael Leclerc (vice-president), Elizabeth McLeod (secretary-treasurer), Roderick McLeod (financial advisor), Silvana Sandrin (resource person), Steve Bletas (resource person) and Mike Campolieto (resource person).