Help provide a Thanksgiving Dinner for our community members this year!

ShineFM’s 6th Annual “Turkey Raiser” – Totes for Turkeys Event– is back! 105.9 ShineFM and AM930 The Light partners with Save-on-Foods locations throughout the city and surrounding areas to help local charities raise turkeys and funds to help with their community Thanksgiving dinner. Bissell Centre will also be giving turkeys for low-income families so they can have a joyous thanksgiving at home. You can donate a turkey or gift card in-store for the chosen charities and in return you receive a tote bag. In past years, the stations have raised upwards of 900 turkeys on this one-day event! This year Bissell Centre, along with Edmonton’s Meals on Wheels, will join in this important fundraising endeavour so that hundreds of mouths can be fed this Thanksgiving.

Listen to the event interview with Bissell Centre on Shine FM and please spread the word on Twitter with hashtag #totes4turkeys!

Date: Saturday, Oct. 4th

Time: 12:00 – 6:00pm

Save on Foods Locations:

  1. Hampton (6260 199th St. NW)
  2. Calgary Trail (3361 Calgary Trail South)
  3. Summerwood (#10 4005 Cloverbar Rd, Sherwood Park)
  4. Oxford (12903 153 Ave NW)
  5. Stadium (8124 112 Avenue)

If you want to volunteer, please click here or contact Darren Brennan at dbrennan@bissellcentre.org or by phone at 780.423.2285. ext. 129.

For more information about the event, please visit shinefm.com/turkeys.

EPCOR’s Breakfast at Bissell Project – Nourishing Children

EPCOR-Bissell Centre Childcare Event March 25th, 2014
Thank you to EPCOR for providing much needed funding for Bissell Centre’s Early Childhood Development Program and for serving breakfast to the children in our Childcare Facility on Tuesday, March 25th. EPCOR’s Breakfast at Bissell Project will provide $20,000 in funding that will enable us to purchase fresh food, produce, and arts & crafts supplies to ensure healthy eating and positive development for the children in our care.

EPCOR continues to be a strong supporter of Bissell Centre’s vision of eliminating poverty in our community through funding initiatives, volunteering, and providing donations to those who need them most. The Breakfast at Bissell Project is another initiative that aligns with both Bissell Centre’s core values of eliminating poverty and EPCOR’s investment pillars that support food, shelter, safety, and educational programs.

Bissell Centre’s Early Childhood Development Program supports families living in poverty with free temporary childcare for newborns to children upwards to five years of age. This is an accredited centre allowing children to play and learn in a safe, supportive, and educational environment. The program gives parents time to access other Bissell Centre services, look for housing, secure employment, or attend medical appointments. Bissell Centre’s Food Services Program also provides a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snack every day for the 1,400 children that rely on our childcare facility every year.

For more information about Bissell Centre’s Early Childhood Program and other Family Support Services, please visit: bissellcentre.org/programs/child-and-family-resources/ 

Bully Food Truck, Showing What Generosity Means

On Saturday we were very pleased to welcome some new friends and supporters to Bissell Centre.
BullyTruck1

Dean and Wendy Gossen are the owners of Bully Food Truck Inc. They take pride in promising “quality gourmet comfort food”, and they delivered on this promise for Edmonton’s inner city community. Read More…

Food Donations Needed!

Bissell Centre relies on the generous donations from the public to support the programs and services that help house, clothe, and feed the inner-city community. Right now, we are asking you to please donate items to our Food Services Program, which provides approximately 350 meals per day for the members of our Drop-In Centre, Childcare Program, and Employment Services. One of the basic human needs is food, so please help nourish our community members’ bodies and minds!
Breakfast at Bissell Centre Childcare

We are asking you to please donate what you can from the list of food items below:

  • Coffee & Black Tea
  • Powdered Creamer
  • Sugar
  • Fresh, Frozen or Canned Fruit
  • Fresh, Frozen or Canned Vegetables
  • Canned Meat: Ham, Turkey, Chicken, Fish, Luncheon Meat
  • Frozen Meat: Hamburger, Roast, Chicken, Wieners/Smokies/Sausages
  • Milk & Yogurt
  • Soups of all kinds
  • Canned Chilli & Stews & Pasta Sauce
  • Dried Goods: Pasta, Rice, Cereal, Crackers, Sauces, Gravies, etc.
  • Juice: Powdered, Individual Boxes or Jugs ( NO Kool Aid please)
  • Snacks: Cookies, Granola bars, Chocolate bars

Thank you very much for making a difference in the community and assuring those in need can find their next meal at Bissell Centre.

All donations for the Food Services Program can be dropped off  from Monday-Friday, 8:00am–5:00pm at:

Bissell Centre EAST Building

10527-96th street

Edmonton, AB T5H 2H6

Contact: Darren Brennan 780-423-2285 ext. 365, dbrennan@bissellcentre.org

All Sides of the Coin – My 3 roles at Bissell Centre

Bissell Centre employee Sissy Thiessen shares her story of assuming the various positions of volunteer, program participant and employee within Bissell. This is a three-part series that will be published separately.
By: Sissy ThiessenSissy headshot

PART ONE:  Volunteering at Bissell Centre

I was sitting in Social Studies class in high school when I first heard about Bissell Centre. An employee from the centre came to talk about what the organization does for Edmontonians in need, and what it means to truly give back to your community. For the life of me, I cannot remember who the person was or what they did at Bissell, but the message of hope in their words is one that has stayed with me since I first heard them in 2005. I remember feeling so impacted by the warm heartedness and compassion I was hearing about. I was so amazed at how an organization could do so much for so many- how much help was really out there. And how much need for these services there really was.

It wasn’t until 2009 that I finally got around to volunteering for Bissell Centre. I had recently watched a movie called “Yes Man,” starring Jim Carrey, a movie about staring fear and apprehensions right in the face and saying “Yes” to any opportunity that comes your way. Giving what you have and going along for the ride. In the movie, Jim’s character volunteered serving soup to the homeless. And just like my mother will tell you, if I see something I want to do being done, I will find a way to do it. So, my mind was made up. I was going to serve soup to the homeless. Read More…

Bissell Centre Experiences a Flood…. Of Support!

It has been five weeks since the flood that damaged our Bissell East building, and we are happy to report that the services we provide in the community have remained as steady as ever – thanks to the support of our generous donors, and a little creativity from our staff!

One shining example of this dedication to Bissell programs can be found in our resident cook, Ian Szabo. Despite losing our kitchen facilities to flood damage, Ian has committed to providing healthy lunches to our drop in and child care without interruption. Since the flood, Bissell Centre has had access to a refrigerated food truck (courtesy of PTI Group Inc.), and our neighbors at the nearby Mustard Seed have been kind enough to share their kitchen facilities with our hardworking chef; every day Ian works hard to transport food back and forth from that kitchen directly to our programs.

When asked about the extra work going into his cooking these days, Ian simply reminds us that for him, “It’s all worth it for the kids”. Thanks to the generosity of our community and Ian’s hard work and creativity in the face of this challenge, we have been able to continue to provide crucial food services to the people in greatest need. Like many who work and volunteer at Bissell, he recognizes the importance of seeing our services provided without interruption so that we can continue to change the face of poverty in our community.  Our thanks goes out to Ian, and to all of you who have kept Bissell Centre thriving in these challenging times!

Inner City BBQ Feeds 1,500 People in Poverty

Bissell Centre staff were pleased to lend a hand at this year’s Inner City BBQ coordinated by the Urban Core Support Network.  Giovanni Caboto Park in Boyle McCauley comes alive every July as locals enjoy a free meal, recreation and entertainment in the outdoors. 
Thanks to cooperative weather, and the efforts of volunteers and donors, the Inner City BBQ fed about 1,500 women, men and children living in poverty – including many Bissell Centre community members.  It is because of our supporters that we are able to contribute to this wonderful event each year.

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Loaded Grocery Truck on its Way This Afternoon!!!

Breaking News: PTI Group delivering a loaded refrigerated grocery truck at 1pm! Filled with pallets of thousands of snacks, drinks, fruit, grocery bags and much more needed food items to our Bissell Centre East – 10527 96 Street.
The generous and speedy donation comes in response to Wednesday’s call for help after our basement flooded with sewage due to recent storms. 

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY
Information contact: Kristen Clark, kclark@bissellcentre.org; 780.423.2285 ext 142, cell 780-964-7220

| Bissell Press Release Here |

| PTI Group Press Release on their website |

Bill – a staple in Bissell Centre for 20 years!

Q & A with Bill – Our Donations Pick-up Driver

How many years have you been with Bissell?
I’ve been with Bissell for 20 years. I’ve been working as the pick-up driver for about 10 years.

At 84 years old, most people your age are retired and yet, you are working full-time. Can you tell me why?
I enjoy working. It keeps me physically and mentally fit. Plus, I love the staff and clients that I work with at Bissell. I enjoy meeting new people.  I talk to about 100 different people a day!

What exactly do you do for Bissell Centre?
My job is to drive around town picking up food for the clients. I go to places like Alberta Health Services, Starbucks, the Italian Centre, Walmart, Funky Pickle, Shaw Conference Centre and Cobbs Bakery to collect their food donations and bring it back to Bissell. There is food to be picked up on a daily basis.

How much food do you pick up on a daily basis?
It varies. It can be as much as 600-700 pounds of food, like when I pick up at Capital Health. As astounding as that number may sound, it is not that much food. The food gets used up quickly, since we feed about 150 people daily.

Wow! That’s a lot of heavy lifting! Do you work with a team?
Nope. It’s just me. I do all of the heavy lifting. I don’t mind. I have always enjoyed working with my hands. I don’t have any back problems or anything –just asthma. But it’s manageable with my inhaler.

When is it the busiest time of the year for pick-ups?
I’m usually pretty busy all year round, but I would have to say from mid-November to about mid-January, we get a lot of pick-ups because of all the holiday parties.

In terms of donations, what is the one thing Bissell is always in need of?
Coffee!!! We need more coffee donations. We go through coffee so fast here! We can’t keep up. We are always running low on coffee.

  – Interview by Karen Lee, Guest Blogger

If you wish to make a food or other in-kind donation, please contact Barb, In-kind Donations Coordinator, at bnickel@bissellcentre.org or 780-423-2285 ext. 159.

Better Access to Better Food

In 2005, a small group of agencies providing meals and food supplied in Edmonton’s inner city established the T5H Network to discuss ways to better address food insecurity and effectively use food resources. They chose the title T5H because the postal code encompassed four neighborhoods in the inner city:  Boyle, McCauley, Queen Mary Heights and Central MacDougall.

The group met periodically from 2005-2010 to share information about each of their activities and discuss different approaches to improve food security. In 2006, for example, the group released a paper Living without Food, which was published by the Bissell Centre.

In 2007, several T5H network members attended a workshop on “social analysis systems” (SAS2), a set of methods designed to assist collaborative approaches to complex social issues.  After the workshop, Peter Faid, from Community Services Consulting Ltd, facilitated a number of conversations to explore how SAS2 might be used by to explore how to improve access to nutritious food for vulnerable residents in the inner city.

The ebb and flow of the leadership of the T5H network meant that the idea for the project was put on hold. In late 2010, Bissell Center secured resources from Family and Community Support Services program of the City of Edmonton to support the inquiry.  Jane Hirst, then interim Executive Director of Bissell Center, asked Mark Cabaj, with the support of Peter Faid and Jim Klingle, to facilitate an SAS2 guided inquiry entitled Better Access to Better Food in the T5H neighborhoods. 

The project has continued, with numerous meetings and considerable research undertaken. At this writing the City of Edmonton funded project has come to an end and the work and findings to date are represented in a “Final Report.” There are quotes around “final report” because we are continuing on without funding in place. Mark Cabaj has agreed to provide some volunteer facilitation and Peter Faid and Jim Klingle will lend a hand no doubt when asked! Bissell Centre has agreed to serve as project administrator. Part of that work includes creating and managing a wiki site (located here) at which all the proceedings are documented and which can be used to solicit more involvement from area organizations and groups.

I encourage you to take a look at the report and share it with others. If you want to join us in work, you can send your interest to me personally at mholmgren@bissellcentre.org