We smashed our goal of $25,000 for #RestoreBissell Fire Relief fundraiser!

THANK YOU!

Together, we raised $33,720!! That’s $8,720 over and above our $25,000 goal. We are so grateful!

A special thank you to Lift Interactive for creating the #RestoreBissell micro-site, and Servus Credit Union for their generous $15,000 matching donation. And last, but most certainly not least, our community of supporters and advocates. You tweeted, you blogged, you Instagram’d—and you donated.

Thank you so very much!

We are almost at our goal of $25,000 for #RestoreBissell Fire Relief Fundraiser

Thank you to everyone for continuing to support our #RestoreBissell fire relief fundraiser. We are only $5,500 away from our goal of $25,000 that will help us to re-open the doors to our Thrift Shoppe in late October after it was damaged by fire.Servus Credit Union will match your donation up to $15,000 and your continued support could potentially help us exceed our goal! The fundraiser ends on Friday, August 8th.

Please donate online at restorebissell.org and help spread the word using hashtag #RestoreBissell.

For more information, please contact:

Devin Komarniski Acting Manager of Marketing & Communications: dkomarniski@bissellcentre.org

Servus Credit Union to double your donations for #RestoreBissell fundraiser!

Bissell Centre is proud to announce Servus Credit Union as a matching donor for the #RestoreBissell fire relief fundraiser. They will double your donations until the end of the campaign on August 8th to help reach our goal of $25,000 to re-open our Thrift Shoppe in late October. We are currently at 30% of our goal and we encourage you to please donate at restorebissell.org.

“The Bissell Centre takes it upon themselves to provide an essential service to the community by working with their partners. That’s quite similar to how Servus operates and when we heard they had another setback, I think we all gasped a little in disbelief,” says Dan Bruinooge, Chief People & Corporate Services Officer.

He adds that’s why supporting the Bissell Centre’s fund raising campaign makes so much sense to us. “Servus could have looked for other ways to help them out but we chose this because we want to make sure they get back on their feet quickly and we hope that many others make that choice as well by donating today”.

When organizations like the Bissell Centre are supported, we all benefit.

#RestoreBissell fire relief fundraiser is a two-week online event where we need your help to raise $25,000 to re-open the doors to our original Thrift Shoppe for late October.

The online fundraiser started Monday, July 28th and runs until Friday, August 8th. Please donate at restorebissell.org and spread the word using hashtag #RestoreBissell.

For more information, please contact:

Devin Komarniski Acting Manager of Marketing & Communications dkomarniski@bissellcentre.org

Help us reach our goal of $25,000 to re-open our Thrift Shoppe after devastating fire

When we experienced a fire to our original Thrift Shoppe in September 2013, we were left scrambling to provide important services. When a second fire hit nine months later at our temporary location on June 21, 2014, we were left devastated. #RestoreBissell fire relief fundraiser is a two-week online event where we need your help to raise $25,000 to re-open the doors to our original Thrift Shoppe for late October.

The online fundraiser starts Monday, July 28th and runs until Friday, August 8th. We encourage you to please donate at restorebissell.organd spread the word using hashtag #RestoreBissell.

The re-opening of the store is vital because it provides $60,000 in annual revenue after expenses to support various Bissell Centre programs and services. With an estimated 100,000 articles of clothing lost in the fire, it interrupted the flow of clothing to our inner-city Community Closet, which provides free clothes to low-income families and individuals. When the store closed due to the fire, 5,000-6,000 monthly customers were forced to look elsewhere for affordable clothing and household goods.

For more information, please contact:

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

Thrift Shoppe Fire Update – still in need of donations!

We 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 our donation page.

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

Thrift Shoppe Fire – UPDATED Clothing Drop Off Locations and Times

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 our donation page.

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

Bissell Centre Ramps up Recovery Plan after Thrift Shoppe Fire

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 our donations page.

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

Thrift Shoppe Fire UPDATE – Now Receiving Clothing Donations

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 our donations form.

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

Temporary Thrift Shoppe Fire – Update # 2

CEO UPDATEPlease 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.

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, please visit our donation page. 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

Temporary Thrift Shoppe Destroyed by Fire

UPDATE FROM BISSELL CENTRE’S CEO

Our temporary Thrift Shoppe location at 11817 80 Street, has been destroyed by fire. The fire broke out as staff were closing up for the day. Thankfully, customers had already left, and our staff were able to flee the building without any injury. All of the contents were destroyed. We are devastated to experience such a disaster after our permanent store location experienced a terrible fire in September 2013.

A number of our staff have assisted the fire investigation team. I have been told by the Fire Investigation Team that  it may be Wednesday until there will be an official report on the cause. As soon as we know, we will share it with you.

Not only does the fire impact those who shop there for low cost clothing and household items, it impacts the 13 staff who depend on the store for their livelihood; these are the staff who worked so hard and long to reopen after the September fire. This is also terrible news for our friends at the Native Friendship Centre who were kind enough to let us rent the building.

Bissell Centre staff will be meeting to develop a plan to address what has happened. Discussions have begun already and on Monday I will be meeting with key staff from around our organization to identify the many next steps we will need to take to get past this and move forward.

I am appreciative of the thousands of followers we have on social media who are sending their well wishes and their clear commitment to help us. We will let you know how you can help in a couple days.In the mean time, you can get some information at http://www.twitter.com/bissellcentre 

Thanks as well to the many media representatives who want to cover this and help mobilize a response. I ask everyone for patience as we regroup and do our best to quickly set a course of action. It is my intention to be able to address the media sometime Monday afternoon. Media inquiries should go to Devin Komarniski (Phone: 780.423.2285 ext. 131 E-mail: dkomarniski@bissellcentre.org).

Some are wondering how the fire might have impacted our Underwear Drive (#DropYourGonch) done in partnership with Mayfield Toyota. I understand all that was collected in that drive is safe.

Many thanks to all of the 50 fire fighters who responded so quickly and worked so diligently to put out the fire and to the other emergency responders who helped out. Edmonton is blessed to have people like you.

I would be dishonest if I didn’t say this is heartbreaking. However, I have no doubt about the resiliency of my staff and the caring support of the Edmonton Community.

For those customers of the Thrift Shoppe, I am so sorry the store is out of commission. I am sure our friends who operate other Thrift Shoppes will help you until we are back up and running — Goodwill, the Salvation Army, among others.

Mark Holmgren, CEO