7 Ways to Support Bissell Centre this Holiday Season

Join us this holiday season in our quest to eliminate poverty and homelessness in our community.

Here are 7 simple ways you can make a big impact!

1. Provide Life-Changing Gifts

Choose a meaningful gift from our Holiday Gift Guide to benefit people struggling with poverty in our community. Your gift will make a difference in someone’s life.

Bissell Centre Holiday GIft Guide


2. Have Your gifts Wrapped in Support of Bissell Centre

Between November 12th and December 24th, for a minimum donation of $2, get your Christmas gifts wrapped at Southgate Centre.

Gift Wrap for Bissell at Southgate


3. Volunteer with Us—Become a Bissell Elf!

We are looking for hundreds of volunteers to help us with a variety of special events. These “Bissell Elves” will take part sorting donations, wrapping gifts, serving meals, and spreading good cheer alongside enthusiastic Bissell Elf Captains, who will help lead the way.

Bissell Elf Volunteers


4. Turn Your Christmas Event into a Fundraiser!

This Christmas season, when you host a staff event or dinner party, you can also give to people in need. Find everything you need to host a Bissell Giving Tree Party!

Giving Tree


5. Donate Warm Winter Clothing

Every year, Bissell Centre hands out over 35,000 articles of clothing free of charge to people. During the cold season, items such as winter coats, hats, and boots can be the difference between life and death. Donate your gently used goods to help someone in need.

Donate Warm Winter Clothing


6. Make a Gift on Giving Tuesday (Nov. 29th)!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all about finding the deals. Consider donating the difference you saved to help people living in poverty. Your gift will impact those who rely on Bissell Centre for help. Please donate here today!

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7. Share and Advocate!

Spread the word! Advocacy in all its forms helps ensure that vulnerable people get the support they need to move from poverty to prosperity. So tell your family, friends, and colleagues about these easy ways to support Bissell Centre this season!

Deepening Community Video

This video was awarded First Place in the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations PLURAL+ International Jury in the 13-17 age category. The video was also awarded First Place at Bethel College USA – Cornelius Kahn Multimedia Award for High School Students. The video is based on Paul Born’s book, Deepening Community. It is great reminder of the importance of community and our collective desire for living better, together.

Bissell Centre’s spring newsletter is here!

In this issue:

  • Moonlight Bay Centre – planning your retreat!
  • Message from Mark Holmgren, CEO
  • From Casual Labourer to Successful Business Owner
  • A New Beginning: a family moving out of poverty
  • Monthly Giving Opportunity!
  • Donor Spotlight: EPCOR
  • …and much more!

Click here to view or download it now!

Bissell Centre in Need of Clothing!

C4b-H-borderlessBissell Centre kicks off spring with our #Clothes4Bissell clothing drive for individuals and families who are living in poverty.
Our spring clothing drive starts Tuesday, April 29th and wraps up at Riverbend Square Shopping Centre on Saturday, May 3rd from 10:00am – 3:00pm. We encourage you to clean out your closets and please donate your new or gently items for a good cause!

Check out our #Clothes4Bissell photo contest for your chance to win one of two $100 gift cards from @Bamboo_Ballroom and @FooshYEG! Details here!

CLOTHING ITEMS NEEDED:

  • Men’s clothing (all sizes)
  • Spring jackets
  • Hoodies
  • Track pants
  • Shorts
  • Footwear
  • Adult underwear & socks (NEW)

ADDITIONAL ITEMS NEEDED:

  • Kitchenware items
  • Bedding & Linens
  • Small appliances
  • Home Decor items
  • Children’s toys

DONATION DROP-OFF LOCATIONS:

  • Thrift Shoppe (11817 80 Street) Monday – Saturday 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • South Side Donation Centre (5120 – 122 Street) Monday – Saturday 9:00am – 4:00pm
  • Riverbend Square Shopping Centre (Saturday, May 3rd ONLY) 740 Riverbend Square 10:00am – 3:00pm

For more information, please contact Devin Komarniski, Acting Manager of Marketing & Communications, at dkomarniski@bissellcentre.org or by phone at 780.423.2285. ext. 131

$2 Grand Slam Event at Downtown Denny’s Restaurant a Success!

Denny's Grand Slam Event March 4th, 2014

Approximately one thousand Grand Slam breakfasts were sold during a seven hour time span at the downtown Denny’s Restaurant on Tuesday, March 4th! A special thanks to the staff and management at the Downtown Denny’s Restaurant for hosting the event and to everyone who came out to support the cause.

Over $2,500 (including generous donations) was raised to support Bissell Centre’s vision of eliminating poverty in our community. This was a great opportunity to connect with the surrounding community to spread awareness about issues facing impoverished individuals and families living in the inner-city.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a picture of your Grand Slam for the $100 Denny’s Gift Card prize!

View all the great photos of the event >

Move the Homeless Along?

The other day I was talking with two of my staff about the increasing efforts we are seeing across the city to “move the homeless along.” Some who advocate for dispersing the homeless tell us it is better to scatter the homeless across the city than to allow them to congregate around places like Bissell Centre or to camp out in groups in the river valley or other “hidden” places. I am not really sure how it’s “better” but it appears the sentiment is shared by more than a few.
Photo: Edmonton Journal | Click Pic to Learn More

I do realize that the aesthetics of homelessness are unpleasant and can make those who have a home to go to each night uncomfortable, if not distressed by what often accompanies homelessness: drug use, public drinking, needles on the ground, and human waste in the back lanes. I get it. I don’t like it either. It is unsettling.

But moving the homeless along does nothing but make the reality of being homeless less visible, and perhaps for some the illusion that things are getting better. I don’t think it improves public safety or the safety of the homeless, and I am sure scattering the homeless does not solve the community’s problem of homelessness.

Being homeless is degrading and painful. Not having a place to call home hurts. It is humiliating to have nowhere to go to the bathroom. Drugs and alcohol are both among the many the activities that lead to homelessness and the means by which people escape the despair of having no home.

Solutions are not easy. Despite the hundreds of chronically homeless people we successfully house each year, we see more and more homeless people walking through our doors. Lately, we are seeing more families. The other night a family slept outside by Bissell Centre. One of them was a two-year old. Where should we move them along to? Read More…

Revitalizing our Community

At Bissell Centre, we want to ensure that we’re doing all that we can to enhance the quality of life for all who live, work and frequent the McCauley Area, where we’ve been based since 1910.
Part of our commitment is playing a role in helping to revitalize our community, making it a cleaner and more accommodating place for everyone.

Revitalization

We pay attention to what happens in our community and our city in order to be the best neighbours that we can. The McCauley Revitalization Strategy, which took shape a couple of years ago, has allowed us to continually focus on our role in improving our community. Cleanliness was a key concern identified by all parties who helped in the formation of the strategy.

For us, this provided an amazing opportunity…

With grant funding becoming available through the City of Edmonton, we’re proud to say that we were successful in recruiting a Clean Streets Coordinator! The Clean Streets Coordinator will be able to hire teams of people who are registered in our Casual Labour Program. It will assist us to work with businesses, individuals and other agencies in the community to make our streets and public spaces cleaner and safer.

Helping to revitalize the community, support those looking for work, enhancing our role in developing our community and working to eliminating poverty by empowering people…its part of what we do!

Bissell Centre in Desperate Need of Steel-Toe Boots to Help People Find Work!

Bissell Centre is urging the public to help… ensuring those in need can continue to receive job opportunities that require safety equipment. As construction season ramps up in our city, Bissell Centre is in great need of 200 pairs of new and gently used men’s steel-toe boots, size 9 – 12 to ensure low income individuals looking for work are able to get jobs and work safely.

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Guided by the vision of eliminating poverty in our community, Bissell Centre works with others to empower people to move from poverty to prosperity. “Employment Services plays a key role in connecting Edmonton’s impoverished population with meaningful work placements,” says Mark Holmgren, CEO Bissell Centre. “Many placements require basic safety equipment, which Bissell Centre normally provides, but currently there are no steel-toe boots available for program participants.”

We are asking the community-minded citizens of Edmonton to donate CSA approved steel-toe boots to us at 10527 96 Street, or our Thrift Shoppe Sorting Centre at 8818 118 Ave.

OR you can donate to buy a pair and get a tax receipt using our donations page.

Bissell Centre’s no-fee job placement service, its Casual Labour program, helps the community by connecting employers and workers, enabling placements to occur seven days a week. In 2012 the program saw remarkable success in filling over 14,000 placements, putting $1M into the hands of the less fortunate community. Since many of the placements are helping with concrete labour, roofing installation, and construction labour, steel-toe boots are often a necessity to being able to assist our impoverished population in finding employment and helping them move out of poverty.

In addition to temporary placements Bissell Centre provides worker training; this includes work preparedness programs, pre-employment training, safety training, employment counseling, resume building and life skills training.

For more information about Bissell Centre Employment Services please contact Mark Bubel, Employment Services Manager at 780-423-2285 ext 139.   

What we need right now: Courageous Leadership

As the CEO of Bissell Centre, I am continually amazed by the number of people and organizations that care about the poor and the homeless. These people exist across all sectors. I sit with them at government tables, in corporate boardrooms, in the pews at church, in meetings with other non-profit leaders, or over coffee with friends at a café. Unfortunately I also meet people – thankfully fewer in number – that believe that, somehow, social and economic problems rest solely within individuals.  Or who judge the actions of groups like Bissell Centre as ineffective because the problems we exist to address still exist or are getting worse.
Housing the Homeless – a Useless Endeavor?
One individual told me recently that supporting Bissell Centre to house the homeless is a useless endeavor because we haven’t yet eradicated homelessness. In other words the 240 chronically homeless men, women and children we will house this year is a failure because we can’t help everyone who knocks on our door.

a-pullquote1I told this gentleman that I did not realize that housing 240 homeless people was a bad thing. I said I did not realize that addressing homelessness throughout our community was Bissell Centre’s responsibility. I guess I thought we were part of a greater effort to house the homeless. I guess I thought that homelessness is a societal issue with complex causality.  I guess I thought homelessness is a shared problem, not just the problem that organizations like Bissell Centre must resolve alone.

I pressed further into the conversation, not because I thought I could change this man’s mind, but rather to understand how he thinks, how people like him think. We talked for about an hour. We did not reach much common ground, but here are my observations and questions.

Homelessness is the Fault of the Homeless?
My counterpart told me that the government should stop wasting money on the homeless because it’s their fault they are on the street. Later he also said the government should cut taxes so that he had more money to fuel the economy as a consumer. I asked why he doesn’t just pull himself up by the bootstraps and make more money.  He waved me off and said helping the homeless won’t help the economy. Of course he is wrong, but just not prepared to be wrong. Read More…

Teens Against Poverty – Ecole Joseph Moreau

PhotoGroupBissell2013a
One of the things that is wonderful about working at Bissell Centre is the opportunity to see how people, schools, corporations, and other communities yearn to make a difference.  It is always a joy to provide a tour to our donors or simply to those who want to learn a bit more about the challenges of our inner city clients and maybe break down some assumptions or stigma around poverty and homelessness.

For a third consecutive year, École Joseph Moreau’s “Comité ESPOIR” (Hope Committee) has undertaken some fund raising initiatives to support their less fortunate community.  This small group of Junior High students has raised over $750 and increased awareness of our organization to the leaders of tomorrow.

Success Coach at École Joseph Moreau, Marc Piquette, believes “these kinds of experiences have a real impact on kids and help them understand some of the realities of our society but also the hope and the triumph of the spirit of community.”

Thank you again for your support and we look forward to hosting you for a tour again next year!