Rethink Homelessness

This video was recommended to us by one of our Twitter followers (thanks Deirdre!).It is a short video from Orlando and it asks you to rethink homelessness. It’s message is relevant here and everywhere. Please take a moment to view it – and share!

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Filed under homeless, Poverty

Thrift Shoppe Fire Update – still in need of donations!

Thrift Shoppe fire clothing donations June 2014We have seen overwhelming support from people, organizations, and companies throughout the city who have donated clothing to help us rebuild after the devastating Thrift Shoppe fire. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the cause! Your help has provided much needed clothing to those who rely on Bissell Centre for assistance.

We are now accepting donations of clothing, linen, bedding, shoes, purses, back packs, small household items, knick-knacks, collectibles, and jewellery.

Bissell drop off locations can be found at:
Bissell Centre Thrift Shoppe (Big Steel Box): 8818 – 118th ave 10am-5pm Monday – Saturday
Bissell Centre Southside Location: 5120 – 122 street 9am-4pm Monday – Saturday

Those wishing to make a financial contribution to the Bissell Centre may do so by visiting bissellcentre.org/donate/.

If you would like to coordinate a clothing drive in your community or at your work, please click here to download a poster that you can use.

For further information please contact:

Madhu Khera – Manager, Bissell Centre Thrift Shoppe
780.471.6644

For Media Inquiries:

Devin Komarniski, Acting Manager Marketing & Communications
780.423.2285, Ext 131
dkomarniski@bissellcentre.org

 

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by | July 14, 2014 · 9:00 am

Thrift Shoppe Fire – UPDATED Clothing Drop Off Locations and Times

Donation-Locations

Thank you for all your support as we rebuild from the devastating Thrift Shoppe fire. Your support will help us to continue to provide clothing and care for people living in poverty.

NOTE: all drop-off locations will be closed on Tuesday, July 1st due to the Canada Day holiday and all locations are closed on Sundays.

Bissell drop off locations (Big Steel Box) can be found at:
Bissell Centre East Building: 10527 – 96 Street (South Side of Building) 10am-5pm Monday – Saturday
Bissell Centre Southside Location: 5120 – 122 street 9am-4pm Monday – Saturday

Those wishing to make a financial contribution to the Bissell Centre may do so by visiting bissellcentre.org/donate/.

If you would like to coordinate a clothing drive in your community or at your work, please click here to download a poster that you can use.

For further information please contact:

Devin Komarniski, Acting Manager Marketing & Communications
780.423.2285, Ext 131
dkomarniski@bissellcentre.org

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by | June 27, 2014 · 11:46 am

Bissell Centre Ramps up Recovery Plan after Thrift Shoppe Fire

Thrift-Shoppe-SeaCan-June-24th,-2014-038

Five days after a second devastating fire ripped through the Bissell Centre temporary Thrift Shoppe a recovery plan developed by Bissell Centre staff has been swiftly set in motion. Sea-Can storage containers were dropped off at Bissell Centre headquarters Monday and Bissell Thrift Shoppe staff are motivated and eager to accept donations.

Community agencies, businesses, organizations and radio stations have been quick to lend a hand, offering to accept and store donations until suitable storage was organized in anticipation of the permanent store reopening in September.

Those wishing to make a financial contribution to the Bissell Centre may do so by visiting bissellcentre.org/donate/.

If you would like to coordinate a clothing drive in your community or at your work, please click here to download a poster that you can use.

Bissell drop off locations (Big Steel Box) can be found at:
Bissell Centre East Building: 10527 – 96 Street (South Side of Building) 10am-5pm Monday – Saturday
Northlands (Rexall Place): 119 Ave & Wayne Gretzky Drive SB 10am-5pm Monday – Saturday

Community drop off locations:
95.7 CRUZ FM: 5241 Calgary Tr., Suite 700
Up 99.3 FM: 9894 – 42nd Ave

NOTE: All drop-off locations will be closed on Tuesday, July 1st due to the Canada Day holiday

For further information please contact:

Devin Komarniski, Acting Manager Marketing & Communications
780.423.2285, Ext 131
dkomarniski@bissellcentre.org

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by | June 25, 2014 · 4:37 pm

Thrift Shoppe Fire UPDATE – Now Receiving Clothing Donations

Sea-Can

For the second time in nine months, the Bissell Centre Thrift Shoppe has been leveled by fire destroying over 100,000 pieces of clothing and household goods destined for homeless and less fortunate Edmontonians.

Thirteen staff members employed at the temporary Thrift Shoppe have been offered professional crisis counselling to alleviate the stress of yet another fire.

“Today key staff gathered together to strategize and draft an emergency response plan to continue supporting our affected employees and the 5,000-6,000 clients affected by the fire,” said Bissell Centre CEO Mark Holmgren.

An interim storage, a Sea-Can unit has been situated south of the Bissell Centre East Building located at 10527-96 Street.  Staff and volunteers will be on hand to accept donations daily 10:00am – 5:00pm beginning Tuesday, June 24th (with the exception of Sunday). We are in urgent need of clothing for all seasons, ages, and gender.

Financial donations to further support the Bissell Centre can be made direct by accessing the donations form at http://bissellcentre.org/donate/.

The Bissell Centre is fortunate to be supported by such a caring Edmonton Community and we wish to thank each and every person and organization for the countless thoughts, calls, emails and positive wishes during this difficult time.

For further information please contact:

Devin Komarniski, Acting Manager of Marketing & Communications
780.423.2285, Ext 131
dkomarniski@bissellcentre.org

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by | June 23, 2014 · 5:10 pm

Temporary Thrift Shoppe Fire – Update # 2

CEO UPDATE

Please hold off a bit before bringing us donations of clothing.
As usual the incredible Edmonton community is wanting to know how to help us. All of you are amazing and I can tell you, knowing you are with us makes a huge difference! Please just hang tough for another day or two while we develop and begin implementing our recovery plan. We should have an update on that later Monday and more throughout the week. In the meantime please do not bring clothing donations to us downtown or even at our South Side location. We will let you know where you can do that as soon as possible.

Recovery Planning has Started
I have already drafted a plan but of course will seek the advice and wisdom of my staff to finish it off Monday morning. Another staff member is spending today connecting with the dozen or so media requests. Other staff are linking with insurance contacts and I have assigned out some work to other staff as well. We are on it and doing the best we can as fast as we can.

Our First Concern: People
As is the case with everything we do, our first concern is about people. Recently our Thrift Shoppe won a Bissell Centre Award for Program Excellence. Most of them were involved in our recovery from the last fire and they did amazing work to get us back up and running. I know they are devastated and I will be working with our HR Director and the Store Manager to connect with them and do what we can to help them through this.

Our concerns for those folks who rely on the Thrift Shoppe are front and centre on my mind as well. Those concerns will be addressed in our planning of next steps.

The Building had to be knocked down due to safety concerns about its instability.

Other Questions
There are a lot of questions coming at us. I will attempt to answer some of them here.

Q: Isn’t this the third fire at the Thrift Shoppe?
A: No, Our permanent location on 118th Avenue was shutdown by a fire in September 2013. This is the second fire, which took place at our temporary location.

Q: Do you think the two fires are connected somehow or that this latest one was deliberately set?
A: I have no reason to see a connection between the two fires. The cause of the latest fire is not known at this time. We are assisting fire investigators with their investigation and they will share with us their findings. I was told we should know by Wednesday at the latest. Any current reasons being shared or speculated about via social media are just that: speculation. For your information the cause of the first fire was not determined, although arson was ruled out.

Q: Will you be opening another temporary store?
A: We will be discussing this tomorrow. However, it took two months to locate and restock the temporary store. Our permanent store is scheduled to be open in September. We will be working to attempt to solidify that deadline. If it holds, at this writing, I imagine we will not open another temp location but rather gear up to get into our permanent location instead. This is not the final word, but I am sharing with all of you my current thinking.

Q: How many people rely on the Thrift Shoppe?
A: Approximately 5,000 to 6,000 each month.

Q: How much income will be lost because of the fire?
A: At this writing, it is too soon to know. I can tell you that our permanent location funded itself and our free clothing services and also generated some funds to invest in other social programs at Bissell Centre. We opened the temporary store to ensure people on low incomes could still access low cost items. We did this even though we knew we would likely operate at a small loss until we could re-open permanently. We have been supplementing the temporary store with general donations.

Q: Does Bissell Centre own the facility that burnt down?
A: No, we rented the space from our friends at Native Friendship Centre. They had plans to renovate it and move programming into it in the fall. This fire is devastating to them as well; please think of them as they set out to also recover from this disaster.

Q: What is going to happen to the 13 staff employed at the Thrift Shoppe
A: A major component of our recovery plan is to look at how to avoid or minimize layoffs. We will assign some staff to recovery efforts, and I have already asked staff to consider how we might reassign staff to other Bissell Centre work. I will know more this week and share it with the public when I do.

Q: Will the fire threaten Bissell Centre’s financial condition and health?
A: The fire will have a negative impact on our budget. To what extend is not yet known. i will be working with my lead team to assess current planned expenditures to see how we might be able to reallocate monies, if and when required, to assist with our recovery. That said, Bissell Centre’s financial condition is healthy. We have no debt and I am confident we have the resiliency to rebound from this, especially because of the great support we receive from our supporters and funders.

Q: Do you need financial donations to help out?
A: Before the fire, we were faced with raising close to $2 million this year to supplement other programs that are not fully funded. It is likely we may have to raise that goal, but again, it is too soon for me to speak of this with any certainty at this point. That said, if you are able to contribute financially, this form is quick and easy to use. It has a comment box and please tell us if your donation is to help out with the fire.

***

Monday night I will be meeting with Bissell Centre’s Board of Governors and will brief them on our plans and seek their counsel as well.

Also please see the previous update on the fire posted yesterday.

Thank you.

Mark Holmgren, CEO

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by | June 22, 2014 · 2:55 pm