Events Stories of Caledon

Brainstorming Ways to Keep a Good Thing Going

Barb Imrie with aspiring young baker
Written by Patti Foley

Contributed photo: Barb Imrie with the youngest PUCK volunteer, an aspiring baker, at Caledon’s first Seedy Saturday

Palgrave United Church has served its community for over 145 years. Like other small churches in Caledon and elsewhere that have closed, or are on the verge of closing, it is nearing the point where its waning congregation can no longer keep it viable. The community of faith here is now facing some difficult decisions.

Declining memberships, aging congregations, and rapidly increasing costs for maintaining buildings and properties have brought many churches to the brink.

Barb Imrie, long-time Palgrave resident, has been very active over the years in this wee church. She says the congregation would like to explore how the Palgrave United Community Kitchen (PUCK)’s food initiatives and other activities can continue.

PUCK started in 2009. It is a certified kitchen available for food entrepreneurs as well as Farmers market vendors. Each summer PUCK has been offering a local food cooking camp for youth (ages 8-13) called “Dirt 2 Delicious”. Many cooking workshops such as Palgrave Preserves and Food for Thought have been “waiting list” only. Until COVID brought its hot lunch program for Palgrave and MacVille Public Schools to a swift halt the funds raised through that were helping to support some of the church’s costs.

“Sundays we pray but then you still need to pay operational costs such as heat, hydro and more for the other days of the week as well” Barb deftly states.

The church has been part of the personality of Palgrave’s past and present.  Now they are thinking about the future!  It is a community hub providing health and wellness programs with a certified kitchen.  Peel Guides, Peel 4 H, Caledon Meals on Wheels, and EcoCaledon run activities here.  It’s available for food entrepreneurs as well as birthday parties, cooking clubs and community dinners.

It is a hub that demonstrates environmental leadership and improves community livability. The community rightly feels it would be a loss if it closed because the heat and hydro bills can’t be paid.

The congregation is now in the process of making a decision about its future. It is looking to the broader Caledon community for ideas and possible partnerships. If you would like to know more about getting involved contact: Palgrave United Church (905) 880 0303 or palgraveunitedchurch@rogers.com or PUCK at info@palgravekitchen.org You can also attend an Information Session on Sunday January 14th at 11:30am at the church at 34 Pine Avenue.

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About the author

Patti Foley

Having spent 25 years in Bolton, Patti remains an advocate for Caledon. As a former Regional Councillor and a long-time community volunteer she is passionate about communicating information about its issues, news, events, people, non-profits and businesses.

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