The Family Central

Hope | Agency | Transformation

About Us

The Family Central began in 2013 with a dream of restoring and repurposing an aging building in Aylmer. The building at 62 Talbot St. East was for sale and all 4 floors of the building needed to be completely redone. A group of local ministers and business owners prayerfully decided to buy the building with the hope of using the facility to support families and offer a hand up to people in need. The details of how this was going to be done were very unclear, but the work began one floor at a time.

Family Central Restaurant — 2014

The first piece of The Family Central was the main floor restaurant. The goal was to provide Aylmer with a family focused restaurant. The first initiative was offering a 10% discount for people who would choose not to use their device at all during their time here as a way of promoting conversation. The promotion was a huge hit and a great start to the restaurant.

For the next 7 years the restaurant worked to be a great place for families and individuals to enjoy a great meal in Aylmer. The staff, under the leadership of Peter Thiessen served the community and built countless relationships. The restaurant business is not an easy industry and despite everyone’s best efforts the decision was made to close the restaurant in December of 2020.

Family Central Apartments — 2015

After the restaurant opened in 2014, the work began on renovating floors 2 and 3. Together with the help of Fresh Start Maternity Services, we began to develop a program-based housing program to work with people to help them break down barriers they faced to living an independent life.

Thanks to the great work of Birtha Wall, Lori Wall, Sean Doyle and Anita Dyck, this program went from a dream to a reality. There was a lot to learn and we continue to learn and adjust to meet the needs of our community in the best and most efficient way possible.

Food Security Program — 2021

After the for-profit restaurant closed the decision was made to start a Food Security Program. In June of 2021, the restaurant re-opened with the mandate of offering breakfast and lunch at a “Pay if you can” way to ensure families are able to obtain food on a daily basis. This was accomplished through many partnerships: the Corner Cupboard, East Elgin Community Assistance Program, Harvest Hands and countless local businesses and individuals who donated time, food and resources.

The restaurant is more than just free food – the goal is to ensure everyone is fed but also to connect them to resources to help get them on their way to have permanent food security. Currently our housing and food costs are making food security a greater challenge for
the average household and so we are working to continue to innovate ways to serve people in our community.

Sean Doyle

I am proud to be a born and raised Aylmerite. I have been a part of The Family Central since February 2018. I am a husband and father. They and the people I get to meet at The Family Central everyday are the reasons I am community minded and driven to help create positive change in our world.

Anita Dyck

I love my family. My hobbies are reading, walking, baseball, traveling, and cutting grass. I have been on staff at The Family Central since November 2019 as a Coach & Support Worker. My goal is to support people in working toward their highest goals, attaining peace and reconciliation in relationships and with God.

Karolyn Friesen

I started working at The Family Central in April 2021 with my first assignment to start a Food Security Program. Today and every day, I enjoy my daily work immensely interacting with our guests and volunteers and keeping things running smoothly as the Food Program Manager. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, reading, movies, baking and cooking, and going for long walks with our dog.

Harry Kouwen

I am married to a beautiful woman and have two wonderful daughters. I have lived in quite a few different countries all over the world, but we settled in Aylmer in the fall of 2021. I joined the staff at The Family Central soon after moving to Aylmer as the Community Chaplain. I am blessed to be a part of a community program that is driven to help anyone in need in the best ways possible.

Jennifer Klassen

I am married and have two beautiful children that God has blessed me with. I love animals, gardening, and refinishing furniture in my spare time. I am a nurse that has been working in mental health and addictions for 10 years in a community setting. I started working at the Family Central in October 2021 and have been blessed every day by this wonderful opportunity. I strongly believe in helping clients find the “root problem” for their health concerns and empowering them to change for the better.

Juanita Stanat

I joined the staff at The Family Central in January 2022 as the Administrative Assistant. I am blessed to be part of this wonderful team as we continuously see lives and futures changed. I enjoy music, sports, traveling, and family time together.

Patrick Stanat

I have been an active contributor at The Family Central for over 3 years. As a member of The Family Central team, I am blessed to be a part of seeing individuals and families get the help they need to get back on their feet and step into a better future.

Albert Loewen

I serve as the Board Chairman here at The Family Central. I grew up in Aylmer and I am passionate about giving back to this community and giving people the best opportunity to thrive. When I am not at my day job working as a pastor at Mount Salem Community Church, I can be found at my second job chasing my kids around to various sporting events.