Liz McConnell, who volunteered as manager of the Aylmer Corner Cupboard Food Bank for the past decade, retired from the position Tuesday, June 1.
Ms. McConnell’s tenure with the food bank began in spring 2011, when she was invited to join by one of the previous managers, Betty Falkenham.
“I knew it was an area I wanted to get involved in because of the great work they did as well as giving back to this wonderful community of Aylmer and surrounding areas,” she said.
“Volunteering is just part of who I am,” said Ms. McConnell. She moved to Aylmer from Dorchester in 1977. She has been involved in the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) for 20 years, active in many capacities at Our Lady of Sorrows church in Aylmer, as well as helped out with her children’s school functions.
The community has been a huge support to the food bank over the years, she said, with donations from annual food drives, town events, corporate giving, grassroots fundraisers, grocery stores, farms and individual efforts.
“I was always pleasantly surprised to hear the creative ways people would fundraise and gather items for the food bank,” said Ms. McConnell, adding dozens of businesses, schools, churches, and other local organizations have contributed over the years.
“People really put a great deal of energy and love into helping our clients and the Corner Cupboard.”
A recently effort she was proud of was the canopy and ramp installed this past winter at the entrance to the food bank. The structure makes the building more accessible, easier to deliver and sort large donations and protects anyone waiting in line from inclement weather.
There are currently about 18 volunteers currently at the food bank. Volunteers come from all over Elgin County, with some from Aylmer, Belmont, Straffordville, Richmond, and Port Burwell.
They help to sort the food and serve clients, as well as with the enhanced cleaning and sanitization required during the pandemic.
In addition to Ms. McConnell, many of the team of volunteers had served the organization with years of dedicated service.
“I find when volunteers come, they stay for a very long time. They enjoy the work, and they’re committed,” said Ms. McConnell. Two volunteers have been at the Corner Cupboard for more than a decade.
The Corner Cupboard manager role will now be taken over by Penny Hilliker, an Aylmer resident and retired schoolteacher. “She’s a natural born leader and will do a great job,” said Ms. McConnell.
Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express