For those of us with a home and a family this Christmas, we might very well be surrounded by more than we can use. How many times have you received a travel mug that gets buried at the back of a shelf, or a blanket that lives in the closet or a piece of clothing that never gets worn? For some of Edmonton’s vulnerable, these same items could be the best Christmas present they ever receive.
If you’re lucky enough to be a person with unusable gifts, it might be time to consider donating them or something of equal value to an organization that will transform your throwaway into a treasure. One such organization is Bissell Centre in downtown Edmonton. In operation for more than 100 years, it offers a wide range of programs to those in need including counseling, employment and pre-employment guidance, a drop-in centre, child care, victim and FASD support and recreation programs.
For Christmas every year, Bissell Centre puts on special programs to give those who need it most some seasonal cheer. In the first weeks of December United Churches across Edmonton gather gifts. Between December 3 and December 18 volunteers and Bissell staff sort the collected gifts into categories for children, men and women. On December 19th they open their doors for a Festive Giveaway. Last year they helped over 100 families with Christmas gifts for their homes, so that the tree (if there was a tree) would have something underneath it for Christmas morning, and they hope to do the same this year.
Another program Bissell offers is Hoodies for the Homeless. Most of the clothing provided for Bissell’s clients is old – handed down or passed along from someone else. The Hoodies for the Homeless initiative aims to provide 800 brand new hoodies to the people Bissell Centre serves – an appropriate seasonal gift for those who spend a lot of time outdoors in Edmonton’s cold winters.
Bissell Centre is a non-denominational centre whose vision is to eliminate poverty in their community. Started in 1910 as an all-peoples’ mission, it has evolved through the years as community needs have changed and they offer help to anyone who needs it, with no questions asked. “If they’re here and they say they need our help we help them,” says Kristen Clark, Bissell Centre’s Manager of Marketing & Communications.
That kind of non-judgmental philosophy is what Christmas should be all about.
If you want to help Bissell Centre share the spirit of the season, you can donate a gift or cash or volunteer your time. For more information you can call 780 423 2285 and ask for Darren, or check out their Giving Guide website at http://bissellcentregivingguide.org
Written By: Eric Rice, a volunteer writer for Alberta Street News – http://albertastreetnews.org/
Last year we changed the name and design of our “Christmas Catalogue” to be a year-round Giving Guide.
In addition to creating a print version, we decided to get with the 21st century and develop an online version www.bissellcentregivingguide.org.
Over the past year we have refined our giving options, and enlisted the help of Pixel Blue College, Canada’s leading digital post secondary institution, to redesign the website and make it more user-friendly and modern.
Traditionally, the way we show someone how much we care is by giving gifts at special occasions – Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, weddings, baby showers, and more. However, when you live in poverty, you don’t always have the money to give or receive such gifts!
For this reason, our Giving Guide offers you the opportunity to give a gift to someone less fortunate.
To make shopping for this type of present easy for you, our Giving Guide website allows you to search for gifts in different categories and also by price range. From food and coffee, to bus tickets and field trips, our Giving Guide allows you to show someone you care by improving the lives of the people that rarely (and sometimes never) receive a gift on special occasions.
A special Thank You goes out to Pixel Blue College for supporting Bissell Centre with our graphic design, website and printing needs.
For more information on Pixel Blue College, visit their website at www.pixelbluecollege.com.
To shop our Giving Guide website go to www.bissellcentregivingguide.org
Written By Rylan Kafara, Bissell Centre’s Inner City Recreation Coordinator
Anyone who has been in Bissell Centre has probably seen Ceno’s art. There are pieces displayed in almost every office, some are hanging in the hallways, and others are painted on the walls. If you’ve visited some of the businesses in the area, you may also have noticed the works Ceno has used for barter when he’s hungry.
Recently, one of Ceno’s pieces was submitted to the 4th annual Edmonton Timeraiser. The Timeraiser is a charity gala where local artists’ paintings are selected by a jury of their peers for auction. If chosen, the artist is paid the market value for their work. At the event, the pieces are given to the highest bidder.
Instead of paying money, however, the winner offers volunteer hours. These hours are worked over the course of the year at community agencies of their choice, and then they are given the artwork.
The Timeraiser is about creating connections, and building community. All across Canada, prospective volunteers are paired with the agencies they are best suited to work with, from Vancouver to St. John’s. Each year the event grows, as more cities host events, more artists are showcased, and more volunteer hours are raised.
This year, Ceno’s “Spirit of Chief” was showcased at the Timeraiser held on October 13th. So not only was his talent recognized by other Edmonton artists, but he was paid a fair price, and his art gave back to the community through a new volunteer.
Ceno’s art being featured at the Timeraiser helps remove barriers between the inner city and the wider community. Although he has never had a formal art education, Ceno has been able to nurture his talents at Bissell Centre, and through that support he has achieved something any artist would be proud of.
If you’d like to help community members like Ceno, visit our Giving Guide to see the many ways you can! Bissell Centre Giving Guide
Important Change: We now have a new headliner for the event- Tim Koslo.
Tim Koslo has been delighting audiences internationally for over 20 years with his multi-faceted style of comedy. From the moment he hits the stage with his manic, animated, sideways look at life, the crowd, be it corporate, club or fundraiser is filled with a sense of something wonderfully strange this way comes.
Koslo’s show doesn’t just rely on visual stimuli for audience response. Mastered dialects, witty prop interplay, dead-on impressions and impressive electric guitar absurdities together with hilarious off the wall humour make up Tim’s show.
Come and join us for a night of laughter with your host, Bissell Centre’s own, Paul Pringle.
This event also includes a Silent Auction and money raised goes towards Bissell Centre’s United Way campaign fundraising goal of $10,000.
Date: Thursday, November 29th
Location: Tumbleweeds, 15211-111th Avenue, Edmonton
Tickets: $20.00 (contact to reserve tickets or purchase at the door)
Alexandre Ramsey: 780-423-2285, ext. 165 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelly Granley: 780-423-2285, ext.261 email@example.com