What is the Community Closet?
The Community Closet, located in the basement of Bissell Centre, is a program where low income/no income clients can receive free clothes and household items on a referral basis. We work with 22 other agencies across the city, i.e the John Howard Society, women shelters, H.I.V Edmonton and more. Once a client gets referred, they get a voucher to use at the Community Closet. They will have up to 2 weeks to fill it. This service can be accessed once every three months. It is open Monday to Friday from 12:30-4:30pm. Clients can drop by anytime with their vouchers.
How many years have you been with Bissell?
I’ve been here for 11 years, ever since the Community Closet program started.
What do you like most about working here?
It is rewarding and I get to help people. It is as simple as that.
How many clients do you see on a daily basis?
It varies, but we average about 28 clients a day.
Where can people drop off their donations?
You can drop off your clothes and other household items at the Bissell Thrift Shoppe on 8818 118 Avenue or our South Side Donation Centre at 5120 – 122 Street or you can drop them off directly at Bissell Centre (10527 96 Street), if you prefer. We are always short on Men’s clothes. So if you have any, please drop them off!
Marilyn, a new Community Closet client
Marilyn is one of the many clients who access the Community Closet at Bissell. She is waiting outside the doors patiently with her voucher in her hands. She came here today looking for a change of clothes. It is her first time here. She has been on the streets for some time now in the same clothes and only came here because some people on the street told her about his place. Marilyn didn’t ever think she would be in her current situation. She always had her own place. She didn’t have to worry about where she would be sleeping each night. Now due to some unfortunate circumstances, she is homeless. Tonight, she will be staying in a shelter. Her future is uncertain. The only thing that she is certain about is that she will get some clean clothes to wear from Bissell Centre’s Community Closet.
To find out more about this program, please contact the Community Closet at 780-423-2285, ext. 118 or view the Community Closet webpage.
Story written by Guest Blogger Karen Lee.