Author Archives: Christopher Weiss

Barbara Poole – Remembering a Great Humanitarian

With the passing of Barbara Poole, the staff and community members at Bissell Centre would like to thank one of Edmonton’s most inspiring philanthropists.  Barbara was instrumental in making Edmonton a better community – whether through supporting the arts, educational institutions or human services agencies such as Bissell Centre.

Along with her late husband John, the Pooles have contributed millions of dollars, often anonymously, to countess causes in our area.  Their legacy is testament to the value of social responsibility, supporting communities where wealth is earned.

Thank you Barbara for setting such a high example and improving the lives of so many.

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Filed under Bissell Centre History

FLOOD UPDATE: PTI Delivers Emergency Supplies To Bissell Centre!

Severe flooding has damaged much of our basement facilities and the stockpiles of food and clothing on which our community depends.  PTI – one of Bissell Centre’s trusted and valued donors – stepped forward today with a huge grocery delivery brimming with much needed  emergency supplies!

Extreme rainfall has negatively affected many homes and businesses in the Edmonton area, including those of PTI.  Thankfully, our generous partners recognize that poverty is a hardship on all 365 days of the year.  Without this outpouring of aid, we would be unable to ensure that children, families and individuals have access to the core services that Bissell Centre provides including daily nutrition, quality childcare and access to clean clothing.

PTI’s commendable donation of fruit, sandwiches, milk, socks and soap – among a great many other goods – will go a long way to ensure that Bissell Cente can continue to serve the community as we cope with the aftermath of sewage flooding.

As we continue to receive donations, we would like to thank partners like PTI for helping make our community a better place for everyone.

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Urgent Call For Donations – Sewage Flood at Bissell Centre

Due to the severe thunderstorm we experienced on Monday, July 23, parts of downtown experienced a sewage surge/backup, including our Bissell Centre East building.   The contamination and fumes are so severe that we had to close our building, including our Food Room, Kitchen, Child Care and Community Closet.

The extent of the damage is still being assessed however we are currently estimating repair, clean up and replacement costs and damages are severe.

As our storage areas for food are compromised, we are asking you for support the best way you can – helping us via monetary donations.  Donations can be made:

You can also help by:

  • Donating clothing, household goods, and children’s toys to the Bissell Centre Thrift Shoppe at 8818 – 118 Avenue.
  • Contributing gift cards for Safeway and Wal-Mart.
  • Providing gifts of disposable plates and cutlery for our meals.

All aid is valuable.  Thank you for your generous support.

*If you feel that your corporation has the potential to make a significant contribution to our facilities or financially, please contact Joshua Marshall at: or 780.940.7770.

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Celebrating Our Success! Bissellebration 2012

Every year, we gather to celebrate another year of service, to share our success, and thank our generous supporters in the community.  We call this event, “Bissellebration”, our annual Gala and Auction.

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260 of Bissell Centre’s closest supporters, sponsors, staff and volunteers shared this experience on May 5 at Sutton Place Hotel.  In addition to media and special guests in attendance, we were honoured by the presence of the Lieutenant Governor, His Honour, Col. (Ret’d) The Honourable Donald S. Ethell.  We would also like to thank Eileen Bell of 630 CHED for emceeing the event, as well as Mark Scholz for acting as our auctioneer.

Bissellebration is not just about celebrating.  It is also about ensuring that we have the funding and assistance to continue and expand the services that we provide to people in need.

I am pleased to share that funds raised through the event totaled over $80,000, including $20,000 for children. 

Bissell Centre would like to thank this year’s sponsors:

  • Servus Credit Union
  • WorleyParsons
  • PCL Construction
  • Boardwalk Rental Communities
  • Capital Power

Thank you to everyone who attended and made Bissellebration 2012 such a successful endeavour.  We invite you to join us next year for Bissellebration 2013!

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A Festival For A Good Cause – A Taste of Riverbend

The students and teachers at Riverbend Junior High have stepped up yet again in their ongoing support of Bissell Centre – this time with A Taste of Riverbend.

This annual food and culture fair is the brainchild of Wes Wintonyk and his Grade 9 Leadership Class.  Designed to celebrate the diversity of the local community, each student is responsible for two food stations representing nations spanning the entire globe – from India to Germany, Korea, and even the North Pole!  This is yet to speak of live entertainment including Scottish bagpipes and Caribbean steel drums.

As part of Riverbend Junior High’s multi-year commitment to Bissell, all funds raised through the event on April 20 go to support our work in the community.  Brisk ticket sales and generous food donations from local businesses mean that this vibrant, creative event will also provide us with financial resources that are always needed.  The students make a genuine difference in the community.

On behalf of everyone at Bissell Centre, I would like to thank all of the parents, volunteers, business owners, teachers and students who made A Taste of Riverbend so successful.


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Filed under Event, Riverbend Junior High

Meg Bernard – We All Need A Place Where Hope Finds Help

Every day at Bissell Centre, we are grateful for the inspiring support we receive from volunteers.

Meg Bernard became acquainted with Bissell Centre while volunteering for the Grade 9 Leadership Class at Riverbend Junior High – with whom we have formed a long standing and successful partnership.

What makes Meg’s story so compelling is the dedication that she shows to her family and her community.  She creates the space to volunteer despite the time demands of a young family affected by autism, spinal complications, tourette’s, OCD and herself – Parkinson’s disease.  It is her drive and enthusiasm for a better future that motivates her to volunteer.

Meg and Mike Bernard with kids
Claire, Kate and Simon

“When I see ‘Where Hope Finds Help’ it brings to mind the difficult times in my life when I have been clinging to hope and needed the help of others to come out on the other side.  I have lived a comfortable life, but there are many times when I have needed help, kindness, forgiveness, love, and someone to lean on.  When I look at the participants at Bissell Centre, I can see myself in them.  We all need a place where our hope finds help.

I believe in Bissell Centre’s mission to ‘empower people to move from poverty to prosperity’.  If I can use the gifts and talents that I have been blessed with to help empower the participants of Bissell Centre then I feel that I have made a worthwhile contribution to the community and have made a genuine difference in the world.”

Meg has made a remarkable difference in her community.  In addition to her work with Riverbend Junior High, she provides entertainment at Bissell Centre events and plays a key role in the fundraising efforts for our upcoming Bissellebration Gala on May 5.

“I have been blessed with a great life and God gave me gifts and talents that I can use to help others.  My goal is to use these gifts to help others find the same joy, safety, security and happiness that I am fortunate enough to have.  I am grateful to have a place like Bissell Centre to help me on my journey to achieve these goals.  I look forward to a long relationship with Bissell Centre.”

For more information on volunteer opportunities please contact Amanda at 780-423-2285 Ext. 365

For information on Bissellebration Gala or to purchase tickets click on the link below.

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Filed under Event, Riverbend Junior High, Volunteer Spotlight