Caring Cupboard executive director removed from post by board of directors

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Exactly one week after an emotionally charged meeting at The Caring Cupboard, the board of the Talbot St. foodbank has released its executive director from her contract.

Board chairman Ward Houghton told the Times-Journal the board of directors did not feel Janice Kinnaird “was the right fit for the role” and she was advised of the decision Monday.

“She was still in her probationary period and the board thought it was prudent to exercise its discretion to implement that section of her contract,” advised Houghton.

Anne Ashfield has been appointed as interim manager of The Caring Cupboard, effective immediately.

“She has been there many, many years as the backup manager,” noted Houghton. “And Karen McDade has been hired as her assistant. Karen has been a great supporter of the foodbank and she worked at the hospital for years.”

McDade was a medical secretary with Respiratory Home Services at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital.

Kinnaird assumed the new role of executive director last December and came under fire at last week’s annual general meeting for what several foodbank clients described as her “hostile tone” and the lack of dignity and respect afforded individuals who rely on the foodbank.

Sharon Hodgeson, a recent graduate of the YWCA’s Bridges out of Poverty initiative, noted under Kinnaird, walking into The Caring Cupboard had become “a humiliating kind of experience.”

Houghton said the foodbank would deal with a permanent replacement at the next regularly scheduled board meeting.

“Our biggest problem is we have a huge demand for food,” Houghton stressed. “We have given direction to Ann and Karen to give out three days of emergency food as required. Which is different from before. My anticipation is we’re going to have empty shelves and empty bank accounts fast.

“I think the decision was prudent. We’d like to turn the page and keep this positive because we need to keep our donors. We just want to feed the poor in a respectful and adequate way.”

In spite of the board’s decision, Houghton had praise for Kinnaird.

“Janice was very graceful. She was eloquent in the way she handled herself. I’m a big supporter of hers and I wish her great things in the future.”

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