The history of the Sutton Volunteer Centre
Since the beginning, and still today, volunteers are at the heart of the CAB’s operations.
The Sutton Volunteer Centre was founded in September 1983 with the goal of supporting seniors in Sutton and Abercorn to allow them to continue living independently. The creation of the organization was a joint initiative of all four churches in Sutton at the time, in response to the needs of seniors and families in the area. With the support of the CAB in Cowansville and with the help of Ann Crowthers and Agnès Hébert, the organization started its work serving the community.
At the first meeting on November 8, 1983, 26 interested volunteers showed up to get involved and support their community. The center operated without employees or an office for many years but nevertheless succeeded in supporting community members.
On December 12, 1991, the CAB was allocated a space by the Town of Sutton in the John Sleeth Community Centre. Over the years, the services have expanded and evolved to meet the changing needs of the community and volunteers have always remained vital to the organization’s daily operation and programming. In 1996, the CAB was incorporated as a non-profit organization.
The Evolution of Our Services
Over the past 40 years, the CAB’s services have evolved and adapted to meet the changing needs of the community.
1983 : Medical Transportation Services
In the beginning, the medical transportation service was the most sought after. The number of drivers increased from 6 to 19 in the second year. In 1991, more than 50 trips were estimated. This service ended in 2010 and an agreement was reached with the Cowansville CAB in 2011, who took over this service for residents of Sutton and Abercorn. If you are looking for medication transportation or would like to volunteer to get involved with this service, please contact the Cowansville CAB.
1983 : Caring Calls And Friendly Visits
This service is intended for people who are experiencing illness, have reduced mobility, or live alone and volunteers offer a caring call or a friendly visit to check in and occasionally assist with errands or light home tasks.
1984 : Financial Assistance
During the 1990s, donations were distributed to families in Sutton and Abercorn requiring financial assistance and an average of 40 vouchers were distributed each year. Although this service is not publicized, upon request, the CAB turns to its community network to find support and mutual aid for community members who need assistance.
1984 : Food Bank And Food Drive
The first Christmas food baskets were distributed in 1984. The home of a volunteer, Joe Deslières, served as a depot to receive the donations and to assemble the baskets. Each year, the CAB distributes between 50 to 60 Christmas baskets to families in the community.
In 1991, thanks to the loan of a space by the Town of Sutton, the CAB launched its food bank, which continues to serve between 20 and 40 households each month. The Food Bank distributes over $40 000 worth of food in the community each year.
Since 2010, the CAB receives food from Moisson-Granby / S.O.S Dépannage. The additional food is purchased by the CAB thanks to the contribution of Centraide Richelieu-Yamaska and donations from generous community members.
1990 : Meals on Wheels
The Meals on Wheels project began in 1989, inspired by similar services offered in Cowansville and Knowlton at the time. Meals are provided three days a week, prepared at Sutton Foyer, and are delivered by volunteers to seniors, people with reduced mobility, and news moms in the community. Up to 1550 meals can be distributed by our volunteers each year.
1994 : Financial Support for School Children to Purchase School Supplies and Meals
In partnership with Centraide and the Sutton School, the CAB Sutton supports families who need it to purchase school supplies and clothing for the new school year. We also have a partnership with the school cafeteria to cover the costs of meals and snacks for students who need a warm meal.
2007 : Collective Kitchen
The Collective Kitchen came to life in 2007. The service brings people together to cook delicious food and discover new recipes. It’s a great opportunity to save on meals, taste new flavours, build food skills, and meet people in the community.
2010 : Family Services
In 2010, the Family Services project was integrated into the CAB Sutton’s programming. The objective of this program is to connect families and provide support and referral services according to their needs. A Family Resource Person animates a range of events and activities for families, such as a toy library, the Baby Drop-in meetings, car seat rentals as well as listening and referral services.
2012 : Homework Assistance
A local senior spearheaded this project in 2012 by developing a partnership between the CAB and the Sutton School. Elementary school students receive one-on-one homework assistance from October to May with a group of volunteers. Through this intergenerational service, over a dozen volunteers offer individualized homework assistance to 10-15 students at the Sutton School on a weekly basis. Teachers and parents note the beneficial impacts of the program on students’ learning outcomes.
2013 : Recognition by The Ministry of Health And Social Services
This was a big year for the CAB: we grew our team, launched a new website, and moved into a new office, as well as receiving a recognition by the Ministry of Health and Social services for our work in the community!
2017 : The First Year of The Community-Based Initiatives For Seniors in Situations of Vulnerability (ITMAV) Program
The Senior Outreach Ressource 50+ service serves as a bridge between seniors and a range of resources that can be useful to them. Our outreach worker is there to listen and offer support to seniors in the community.
2017: Strategic Planning
A strategic planning process allowed the organization to develop a roadmap to achieve our medium and long-term vision. The process aimed to optimize our resources, both material and organizational, to help us achieve our mission.
2018 : CAB Sutton Celebrates 35 Years With The Retrolabo Exhibit And Book!
RetroLabo celebrates the Sutton Volunteer Centre’s 35th Anniversary by turning the spotlight on the people who work behind the scenes. This unifying project pays tribute to our entire community and our incredible volunteers. The RetroLabo is the story of all the people who have cultivated, nurtured and fostered the community spirit in Sutton and Abercorn.More about RetroLab...
2018 : Relocation of John-Sleeth Center Organizations in Sight
In 2018, The CAB Sutton and the partner organizations housed in the John-Sleeth Centre (JSC) organizations faced the reality that they will need to relocate temporarily or permanently in the coming years. SJC agencies began evaluating the possibilities of collaborative solutions and the relocation challenge became an opportunity for organizational and collective development.
2019 : Expression of The CAB's Vision: Creating a Community Hub
From our need to find a new home, the idea of the Maison des générations—Olivet House was born. The CAB began planning a community space that nourishes the body, the heart and the spirit of the communities of Sutton and Abercorn. Through its Meals on Wheels, food bank, community meals and cafés, collective and intergenerational cooking activities, the CAB Sutton believes in the power of food to bring people together. Perceiving this potential, the organization imagined a place where people from all generations and backgrounds can come together to share a bite to eat around the table, create social bonds, foster mutual aid and solidarity, all the while promoting the health and well-being of the community. This exciting project of a community hub began to take shape...
2020 : New Community Outreach Program
In 2020 the CAB developed a Community Outreach program to better serve families in Sutton & Abercorn, particularly the English-speaking community and to people experiencing vulnerability and isolation. Out Community Outreach Worker is there to listen, offer support to the Anglophone community, and to refer people to relevant resources and services depending on their needs.
2021 : Agreement Signed With The Olivet Baptist Church
On May 16th, 2021 the CAB Sutton signed an agreement with the congregation of Olivet Baptist Church, who has generously gifted us the church for our innovative community project : the Maison des générations- Olivet House! This positive agreement will allow the CAB to have a new home in the heart of the village, in a welcoming space that has brought people together since 1845. This innovative project will centralize essential community services for people of all ages around the unifying theme of food. We are working very hard to make this dream a reality and hope to relocate in the fall of 2022!