Director of the Aylmer Food Centre, Gérard Émond retires after 8 years of leadership
A few years after retiring from a career in education, Émond said he wanted to return to the workforce to stay active and social. He first worked for a year at a school to aid low-income individuals to read and write, then worked for two years at La Soupe Populaire. In December 2014, he became the Director of the Aylmer Food Centre (CAA).
Émond says that his biggest accomplishments with CAA were working to make the organization financially stable as well as guiding the center through the Covid-19 pandemic. CAA was able to adapt quickly and continue its food distribution throughout the pandemic.
“In 2014 and 2015, the financial situation was fragile. Our main priority is always serving our families and we had employees working to ensure this could continue. My goal was then to work on finances. We were renting space at the time, which was expensive,” said Émond. “In 2016, we were able to buy the current building we are in, renovate it, with government financial support and a community donation, and rent the other spaces to support our mortgage. After a few years, thanks to volunteers, donations, and employees, we are now in a stable financial situation, and we can serve our families with quality food services and psycho-social aid.”
Émond says they are in a position where they can adapt to the needs of the community. “The center we have now is not what we had in 2014 and the success is everyone's, the community, businesses, volunteers, and workers.”
As the fiscal year comes to an end, Émond highlights that CAA distributed 200,000 kilos of food to families and those experiencing food insecurity this year. The distributions were made possible through community donations and Moisson Outaouais.
“It is a little nostalgic for me. It was a great journey and project for the whole team. I have many good memories that will stick with me forever,” said Émond. “For me, the story of the Aylmer Food Centre is a love story because of the ties we have with the community, the volunteers and the generosity of the community.”
March 31 will be Émond’s last day with the CAA. Denis Parizeau will be taking over as Director general. The transition period started in February. “The transition is going extremely well. I am confident that the center will be in good hands under his direction.”
“From the perspective of the newsroom, we’ve seen the significance of Émond and the Food centers' work on our community,” said Lily Ryan, owner of the Aylmer Bulletin.
The CAA is located at 67 rue du Couvent. The organization supports those facing food insecurity and financial difficulties. The organization's mission is to develop initiatives to meet the food needs of the community, and they also offer front-line social assistance services.