Emergency Food Centre coordinator steps down

Kerry Kaiser, the long-standing and much-loved coordinator of the Centretown Emergency Food Centre at 507 Bank, is stepping down at the end of the year.   Photo: Robert Burr

By Martha Musgrove

Kerry Kaiser, the long-time, much-loved coordinator of the Centretown Emergency Food Centre (CEFC) is stepping down from her position at the end of this year.

Established in 1978, the CEFC is one of the busiest food centres in Ottawa, serving a catchment area that includes Centretown, the Glebe and Old Ottawa South and East. In recent years, an average of 800 client visits have been made each month to the centre at 507 Bank Street where a three-day supply of nutritious food is provided, along with a friendly greeting and advice on a range of additional services available from other organizations.

For the past 26 years, Kaiser has been the welcoming and compassionate face of the food centre, helping countless clients who struggle to maintain their families and themselves on limited incomes. In her many public speaking engagements to enlist support for the centre, Kaiser always relates stories of clients who were able to turn their lives around, thanks to the help they received.

Allison Dingle, chair of the CEFC management committee, describes Kaiser as “a tireless champion for our clients and for the high standards of our Food Centre. She will be greatly missed and challenging to replace.”

Kaiser will leave the food centre with an impressive list of accomplishments. She has attracted, trained and retained a corps of dedicated volunteers. She has mentored many social work students and student interns, giving them a firm foundation for their future careers. She has established strong ties with other social service organizations in the downtown core, and she has ensured that donations to the centre are used efficiently and effectively for their intended purpose.

On Sunday, October 4, the annual Walk for the Centre took place. Because of the constraints imposed by COVID-19, this year’s event was virtual. However, whether walkers followed the traditional route around Parliament Hill or walked in their own neighbourhood, their thoughts and gratitude were directed to Kerry Kaiser who has served the Ottawa community so faithfully for so many years.

Martha Musgrove is a member of the Centretown Emergency Food Centre Management Committee.

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