Michelle’s Doing Really Good

How Michelle rose above adversity and is thriving today

This is Michelle. She grew up in Edmonton. Whenever Michelle returns to Edmonton, she sits on the curb next to Bissell Centre’s community space. “This is where she sat,” Michelle says. “And I feel like she’s still here. I tell her that I love her whenever I sit here.”

Michelle’s mom regularly visited Bissell Centre, requiring services from drop-in supports to the housing program. “My mom was a residential school survivor, she became addicted to alcohol and drugs over the years. She was the most loving, kind mom before that.”

She sits on the curb, lights the sage in a small cast iron skillet and places her headphones into her ears. She takes a long breath and starts talking to her mom. She tells her how she’s taking care of the babies, getting her degree, and working in corporate now – that she’s doing really good.

When Michelle says she’s doing really good, this carries a very heavy weight. This means she’s helping her children heal, providing for her family, and moving forward away from the cycle of poverty she knew. She’s breaking Intergenerational trauma and overcoming systemic oppression. And she’s able to give back.

Another breath and she begins singing. Not starting with a whisper, but right from the bottom of her feet, out her mouth, and reverberating across 96 Street. Wandering up and down the alleyway where her mother passed away, she releases every emotion in her being with every word she sings.

Photo of Michelle beside wall smiling.

Where Michelle is today

Today, Michelle is a social worker with a background in childcare and Indigenous culture. She now lives in central Alberta. She is part of an Alberta Health Services advisory council, where she regularly attends meetings to help offer better services to all Albertans.

It was not an easy path. Growing up in poverty and with parents experiencing addiction meant she had to work four times as hard to get where she is today. Michelle was able to find a path that was healthier and more fulfilling for her and her family.

Michelle’s Journey to Bissell

As a child, Michelle (along with her mother and three siblings) left their northern Alberta community to escape toxic family dynamics and domestic violence. The family travelled to Edmonton for a better life. But both of her parents quickly experienced addictions, and it wasn’t long before Michelle’s mother found herself living in Edmonton without shelter.

After she became a parent, Michelle came to Bissell Centre for some basic needs, the child care program, and the parent program. This is where she met childcare worker Fatima and family supports worker Cheryl. Michelle felt honoured that these women heard her story and believed she could one day leave poverty behind – once and for all. It was the first time Michelle felt like her support was nonjudgmental, encouraging, and believed in her goals.

“Being an Indigenous woman, in my experience, was being told to be quiet a lot,” Michelle says. She points out how Bissell’s service delivery approach helped her heal from her trauma. “Many programs [from other service providers] would often parent or monitor my life. Bissell treated me like a person. They gave me wings to fly.”

Michelle and her siblings each had their own challenges with poverty and addiction as they grew into adults. Though Michelle overcame her challenges, much of her family succumbed to their challenges. She honours her only brother’s death in 2015, her youngest sister’s death from COVID in 2022, and her sister-in-law’s death that same year. By 2016, her mother’s life would be cut short by complications due to pneumonia.

Michelle looking out towards downtown

Michelle’s Giving Back

Speaking from her experiences, Michelle thinks trauma is often not openly spoken about. She did not have access to many role models speaking eloquently about the realities of being Indigenous. She’s learning to manage her trauma through post-secondary education, her art, her work as a facilitator, and being a two-spirited leader. She is a strong Indigenous mother teaching her children about their culture, history, customs, and their connections back to the land.

After she finished her ceremony, she walked around the corner to the folks standing in line at the Community Space. Michelle spots an elderly Indigenous woman and gifts her the tobacco. She hears about how her new friend just found her new place to call home. The tobacco will hang in the new home – Michelle’s gift as an act of healing.

Michelle comes back, smiling wide as she cleans from her own healing ritual. She tells us how happy she is for her new friends. “They’re doing really good!”

A Brief History of Black History Month

Celebrating Black History Month in Edmonton is important – but it’s just as important to know why we celebrate Black History Month. In order to do this celebration of Black accomplishments justice, we need to fully understand what was the intention of this month, what was the larger social context of the times, and why this celebration needed to come into existence.

The Black experience in Edmonton is unique especially compared to the American Black experience through slavery and into modern marginalization. Despite these differences on the surface, the underlying themes are all too familiar to far too many races, groups, identities, and nations.

Where Black History Month Began

Carter G. Woodson is often considered the man who ignited Black History Month. He was born to a literate mother and an illiterate father, so he grew up understanding how a person’s origins and story are sacred and need to be preserved and shared for future generations. Wanting to create a record of important historical Black Americans, Woodson’s main goal was for young Black people to see these themselves in these powerful figures and stories. This was during a time when Black accomplishments went relatively unnoticed outside of the communities and were largely omitted from textbooks and history lessons.

For accomplished sociologist and Bissell Centre Family Support worker Samuel Enyon, Black History Month is important because of the lack of representation of Black achievement. “For me as an African immigrant to Canada, knowing and celebrating some of the Black people that made it possible to even dream of ever coming to the Americas, live a dignified life and fight for a better life for my family is both humbling and an honour,” says Samuel.

Recognizing the Black Experience

The abuses African American face on a daily basis can not be understated. The engrained racism across the United States is so deep it’s nearly unrecognizable as deliberate disenfranchisement. While many folks are working towards restorative justice for Black communities, it feels like just as many people would rather pretend this inequality doesn’t exist.

Samuel goes on to explain that those who write history get to control the narrative and unfortunately, the history of Black people has typically been written by white scholars. “What this means is that it took the efforts of Black figures such as Carter G Woodson, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and other civil rights activists to finally be mentioned in history,” says Samuel. “And why many children growing up in Africa as I did, know why Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba and Kwame Knuruma were fighting for our freedom in Africa.”

A Celebration of Overcoming Obstacles

Black History Month’s main message is a positive one about celebrating the achievements of men and women who faced seemingly constant barriers, yet still achieved in ways that some folks could only dream of. And this is where Black History Month touches Edmonton.

The underlying theme of overcoming obstacles is a common story in a lot of marginalized communities in Edmonton. Whether it’s Indigenous Edmontonians attempting to navigate a system that initially sought to wipe them out, new Canadians trying to build a better life only to find demeaning work and living conditions, or any Edmontonian born without the resources to meet their full potential, this is a month to give them hope.

“It’s upon us to embody the legacy of the legends that founded Black History Month and extend the same concept to all folks of the visible minority and beyond,” says Samuel.

The colour of our skin, the amount of money we have, where we slept last night, when we ate last, or whatever challenge we’re facing doesn’t define us as people. We are all capable of so much – some of us face more barriers than others. Black History Month shows what can be possible despite what’s working against us.

Why we Celebrate Black History Month at Bissell

Black History Month can easily go forgotten in Edmonton. On the surface, the Black experience isn’t as prevalent in our culture as it in in the United States. But Edmonton is no stranger to the influence and celebrations from our Black communities. Just ask anyone who’s been to the Cariwest Festival or explored the excellent vendors at Black Owned Market (BOM) YEG.;

Though Black History Month is rooted in the American Black experience and celebrating the achievements of Black folks despite the history of slavery and continued systemic racism, there is a lot of Black experience here in Edmonton absolutely worth celebrating. And though the stories look different on the surface, the underlying themes remain very consistent.

Viewpoint from a Sociologist

Samuel Enyon is a Family Support worker with Bissell Centre, who earned his master’s degree when he was studying in Madrid. Originally from Uganda, Samuel looks at his own and his family and community members’ journeys to Canada and relates very closely to what’s being expressed with Black History Month.

He explains that a lot of the context that people from African and Caribbean countries bring when they arrive in Edmonton does tend to be white-centric. In addition, further barriers to Black success can play a devastating role for Black families looking to settle and find a better life.

Bissell Centre Helps Bridge the Gap

Oftentimes, foreign credentials aren’t recognized in Canada, making employment difficult for a lot of new Canadians. This is one of the biggest barriers faced by new Canadians. Samuel himself sees families come by the community space, fully prepared to sleep on the streets.

Samuel once worked with an immigrant family that came from an African country, and all they could speak was Portuguese. The father managed to string a few English words together, just enough to have them referred to Bissell Centre Family support. When they arrived, the father broke down in tears. The family had spent three years getting to Edmonton. They passed through Central America, slept in wetlands, and one of the children nearly drowned.

“Who knows if the family understands the amount of trauma they went through?” Samuel recounts. “I was so fortunate that my team was able to put some things aside to further help this family with whatever resources they could find.”

With no options available within the formal system to keep this family from sleeping on the streets, the lead looked to Samuel for ideas. He suggested calling their country association in Edmonton. It wasn’t long before the family found sponsors to host them, and they quickly moved into their own permanent housing.

In his own words, Samuel says, “it was the first time I had seen an organization put so much into helping a Black family.”

Blended stories and shared fates for Edmontonians

As Samuel recounts the story of the family, he points to the similarities, systemic barriers, and opportunities that all new Canadians may encounter.

“To me, Black History Month is a celebration of a lot of different cultures who’ve struggled and overcome,” says Samuel. “The stories are different. But the similarities are very close, and this is a coming together to empower the most vulnerable in our societies.”

Considering himself lucky and well-positioned as a family support worker at Bissell Centre, Samuel meets families from all races, cultural backgrounds, and nations. To him, expressing the need for us as humanity to reach across the table and seize every opportunity to treat each other as humanely as possible drives his work at Bissell Centre.

Samuel stresses that Black history month needs to be celebrated every day of our lives. “Each and every one of us should find it in our hearts to practice kindness, empathy, and love,” says Samuel. “We can come together to ask the inconvenient questions and seek a better understanding of each other and not be so quick to classify each other.”


Top Seven Tips for Fundraising

Coldest Night of the Year is coming up quick – and no doubt this year has a lot of fundraising events in store. So whether you’re joining our February 25 Walk for Bissell or if you’ll be raising funds through an event of your own, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when you’re looking to raise money to make a difference in your community.

Check out these top seven fundraising tips and be sure to share your own tips on social media.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Many hands make light work. Recruit as many people onto your team as you can. More people can help you reach your team’s fundraising goal faster!

Ask Everyone

You won’t get a donation if you don’t ask for it. Sometimes the biggest donations come from the most unexpected places. Go beyond friends and family to ask co-workers, teachers, favourite businesses, your dentist, your lawyer, your boss or even your vet. Don’t be scared! Send them an email with your link and you’ll be surprised how many will happily contribute to your campaign.

Ask Directly

Write a short message and personalize it before sending it directly to each person via email, text, or direct message. People are much more likely to respond to something addressed to them. But this is only one touchpoint that can help you convince your friends, family, coworkers, and larger network to contribute to your cause.

Post On Social Media

Post on all your platforms often to reach as many people as possible. Don’t forget to include a link directly to your fundraising page. Use photos from previous events or even a photo of you participating in a campaign. Ask others to share with their followers to increase your reach further. And make sure to tag everyone relevant in the post and include any special hashtags for the event – in this case it’s #WalkforBissell.

Share Your Why

People are more likely to show their support when they understand why this cause is important to you. Tell the story of how you got involved with your cause and why you care about it so much. It helps people understand why they should care too.

Remind Them

Did they say they would donate, but the event is only a few days away and you haven’t seen a donation in their name? Politely ask them again. They won’t be annoyed – they likely just forgot.

Say Thank You

Thank every person individually who donates to you – and as soon as possible. After the event, share details of how much you raised and post photos of you participating. Write a message you can send to all your donors to update them on how the event went, how much money was raised, and most of all, why their contribution was so important.

Have any other fundraising tips to recommend? Any huge fundraising victories you want to share? Let’s keep the conversation on social media. Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Instagram and Twitter, and we hope to see you when we walk through downtown Edmonton on February 25!


Why we walk for Coldest Night of the Year

Spending a night outside in Edmonton’s harsh winters can take its toll on people. In 2021, it’s estimated that 222 people experiencing houselessness in Edmonton died – many from avoidable deaths such as from exposure. That is a 70 per cent increase from the year before. Between 2021 and 2022, there were 786 reported cases of extreme frostbite, with 91 leading to amputations.  

For countless Edmontonians, there is a very real prospect that they may experience houselessness. The Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser walk through downtown gives a small glimpse into what experiencing houselessness can be like. 

This Year’s Walk for Bissell 

Our goal in 2023 is to raise upwards of $120,000, after last year’s successful walk where we raised $140,000. Walkers are coming together on February 25, 2023, for either the two or five kilometre walk through downtown Edmonton – with teams raising funds since December and continuing to raise funds until one month after the walk. 

Not only is this a fun way to bring awareness to a serious issue in our city, but you can also see directly how those funds raised make a difference to the community. This is the sixth year that Bissell Centre is taking part in Coldest Night of the Year – and the first back in-person after the pandemic. 

The funds raised for the downtown Coldest Night of the Year walk go directly back to Bissell Centre’s programs, ensuring that our city’s most vulnerable have the services they need to live with a better quality of life.  

A History of Helping Those Experiencing Houselessness 

Coldest Night of the Year was established in 2011 when three Ontario Ministries wanted to bring attention to what folks who are experiencing houselessness need to endure over Canada’s harsh winters. They started with a goal to raise $40,000 – by the end of the walk, they had raised well over $111,000. 

This fundraiser was quickly adopted across Canada and the US, with 166 different locations hosting their own walks with funds going back to local community organizations. In 2022, more than $12 million was raised by more than 31,000 individual walkers in Canada and the US. 

You can still contribute to this amazing fundraiser. Donate to a team (or start your own!), donate to someone walking, or support us directly at Bissell Centre by donating to the Walk with Bissell team. Check out our local event site and contribute today. With your help, we can reach our $120,000 goal and continue serving those most vulnerable in our city.  

Take the 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

In 2010, two young guys from Ohio decided to quit their corporate jobs, downsize their lives, and focus on what’s most important to them.

Today, they tour the world spreading their ideas about minimalism and living a meaningful life. Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn now have multiple best-selling books, two highly successful Netflix documentaries, and a weekly podcast with guests ranging from celebrities to researchers and even members of their own families.

A Minimalist Lifestyle

As The Minimalists, these two do much more than talk about living with less. They provide valuable tools and ideas to help others find their ways of living with less. Local broadcaster Ryan Jespersen has started his journey, taking on the 30-day Minimalist Challenge and chronicling his progress on Twitter – making sure everyone knows he’s giving to Bissell Centre.

As we roll into a fresh year, countless Edmontonians are looking for their own fresh starts to a new year. And let’s be real, we all accumulated a lot of stuff over the pandemic. With the world opening again, it could be time to look at everything in our homes and refocus ourselves back to what’s most important.

The Minimalist Challenge

Jespersen isn’t the first locally-recognized name to chronicle this adventure in the Minimalist Challenge. The Edmonton Journal’s Fish Griwkowsky shared his experiences in the newspaper back in 2016 – clearing out a myriad of science-fiction novels, vintage action figures, and more!

How this month-long game works is simple: on the first day of the month, find one thing to let go of; on day two, find two things; and so on, and so on. By the end of the month, that’s close to 500 individual items to be let go.

And this is just one idea the two influencers devised. There’s also the packing party, where you pack up everything you own like you’re moving and only unpack the items you use. After three weeks, you start to see how little you need in your day-to-day. They also have a series of “rules,” which really are more like guidelines and can always shift depending on individual need.

Don’t Forget Bissell Centre as you downsize

Bissell Centre accepts donations of all kinds at both of our Thrift Shop locations, from books to clothes, kitchenware, unused toiletries and undergarments, winter clothing, and more! So, if you decide to take this plunge in trying to live with less, be sure to keep us in mind as a place where all these things can be put to good use and help those who need it most.

Share with us your own downsizing journey! Is there anything in your home you decided to minimize? What do you donate most often to organizations like Bissell Centre? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to leave your thoughts. Let’s keep the Minimalist Challenge and the conversation going!

Time for a Financial Checkup: November is Financial Literacy Month

November is Financial Literacy Month (FLM). It’s the time of year when Canadians are encouraged to do a financial checkup. With new apps and online financial tools, it’s never been easier to assess your financial well-being. But where do you start, if you are missing basic financial literacy in subjects like debt, credit, financing, and budgeting? And where do you go if you want to understand your financial rights and responsibilities?

Theresa Baran is familiar with this dilemma. Growing up in Edmonton, Theresa’s father was her first financial mentor.  “My Dad,” she smiles, “was the first person to teach me about money.” Although her father focused on saving his money, Theresa never forgot the big, unexpected purchase he had made for his family.

As a nine-year-old girl, Theresa vividly recalled her father pulling into their driveway with a vehicle. “It was blue, had big wheels, and was beautiful,” she said. “It was the fanciest car I had ever seen. My dad was the first Native man in our neighbourhood to buy a car.” After years of saving, the family had its first vehicle for $2000. It was a large purchase for a young family, which included Theresa and her two siblings.

Theresa’s Dad imparted financial wisdom to his daughter that she carries to this day. “Always have money to put a roof over your head,” he reminded her, “and never be homeless.” Then, suddenly, on her 18th birthday, Theresa’s father died, and everything in her life changed.

Theresa had nobody to advise her on money management, and she didn’t know who to ask for guidance. Although her dad taught her so much about saving, he didn’t have time to explain credit, debt, and rules about income tax. Living on her own, she found work at a daycare, a career she held for 22 years. She tried to save her money but lacked basic financial literacy. Now at 48 years of age, Theresa is on Assured Income for the Severely Handicap (AISH), where she needs to survive on a fixed income where every dollar counts.

Bissell Centre offers a variety of programs on financial empowerment to improve the lives of people on low incomes. These free programs allow participants to feel empowered in their financial decision-making, helping them to avoid making poor financial choices or being taken advantage of by unscrupulous companies that offer easy financing and high-interest payments. Participants create budgets, file taxes, access government programs, and create realistic savings plans.

Katrina John-West, Team Lead of Financial Empowerment, says the program is providing financial information that many of us take for granted. John-West, who holds a business degree, covers topics ranging from debt and credit to budgeting and knowing your financial rights, giving participants the confidence to manage their money. “Bissell even helped me file my income taxes,” says Theresa, adding, “When I worked at the daycare, I had a T4. Now that I am on AISH, it’s different, and I have a T5.”

Thanks, in part, to her father’s advice, Theresa has never been homeless. “Do good things with your money and don’t cry away your blues by drinking and drug use,” guided her dad. For the first time in her life, Theresa says she feels like “an independent woman” having taken the Financial Empowerment program.

Theresa sitting in the Community Space sharing her story

Theresa Baran shares the financial skills she developed as part of the Bissell Centre’s Financial Empowerment Program for Financial Literacy Month.


Theresa and Katrina outside walking


The key to the Financial Empowerment Program is facilitators, like Katrina John-West, who possess social services and business backgrounds and spend time one-on-one with participants, including Theresa Baran.

Seeing FASD Through A Strengths-Based Lens

When we hear about FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) we often hear about the challenges and negative impacts on society. While there are challenges with this diagnosis, there are also plenty of positive traits and strengths to counteract the negatives that are more often discussed.

When thinking about individuals who are living with FASD, we need to take a people-first approach. There’s a great deal to learn about FASD. No diagnosis is the same; each individual experiences FASD differently and every individual can still live a full, robust life in the community with the right supports. Sound familiar? This is inherently true for every single human experience on this planet. A diagnosis shouldn’t create an “us” vs “them” narrative that builds walls between us. What it should do is encourage empathy and compassion.

Even the most neurotypical people benefit from focusing on their individual strengths. We talk about “math people” or being a “people person” all the time. We classify ourselves and others as introverts and extroverts and people who make decisions based on their hearts or their heads.  Neurodivergent individuals have all the same strengths, desires, wants and needs as anyone else. They also require supports from their community, friends, and family just like the rest of us.

Take JB, for example. This participant’s personal neurological FASD strengths come out when routine, order, and a fixed process are in place. He also thrives when incorporating movement into an activity. The participant applies these strengths to fixing bikes and shows significant skill in doing so. He has expanded his skills, using them to support the community by fixing broken walkers for people who are unable to access funding for walking aids. JB gets assistance sourcing the walkers, fixes them on his own time and then gives them back to be distributed in the community. In this way, he utilizes his neurological strengths to contribute uniquely to his community.

And then there’s KR – This participant’s social strengths allow her to be focused on those around her and sensitive to the needs of others. Utilizing this strength, she has supported occupational therapy students in understanding the strengths and challenges she has observed in herself and others with FASD. KR benefits from the use of organizational supports and pre-planning around sequences to support her cognition and prevent rushing, which can lead to feelings of frustration and make her more likely to make mistakes. As a result, the participant chose to teach the students through a pre-planned presentation using posters; this allowed her to best utilize her FASD strengths. In this way, KR is able to coach future occupational therapists on how to approach clients in her situation in a client-centred way that is more likely to lead to therapeutic success.

For other individuals learning to manage their FASD, starting with strengths has been a pathway through. One participant, JR, is skilled at repairing bikes but prefers to keep to himself and limit social situations. JR uses his strengths to contribute to his community by fixing bikes for Ukrainian refugees in his home.

FASD participant cooking

Then there is JW – This participant is strongest in an environment that has limited distractions, where information is presented 1-2 steps at a time and ideally is in a visual format. He also benefits from flexibility in time scheduling and is very creative. For him, a strength-focused approach is to channel this creativity through cooking. He frequently creates new flavours and recipes to share with the residents of his community.

Ultimately, if you boil these strengths and needs down, many of us can relate. We too benefit from routine, consistency and environments with few distractions. While many of us face a variety of challenges in our lives, in our strengths we are alike. Central to this are the supports in the community that we all need to live a full and prosperous life. People with a diagnosis of FASD often face stigma when, in actuality, we are far more similar than we may think. Some of us just need a little more support than others or different support to truly let our strengths shine.

We invite you to learn more about FASD over the month of September and beyond.  Let’s come together to create an equitable space together and foster an understanding of the challenges and strengths that our fellow community members live with.





Houselessness and Injuries: Using the Data to Improve our Services

At Bissell Centre, our mission is to end poverty and houselessness in the community. In order to achieve this we need to fully understand what barriers people experience receiving care, the stigma they are forced to wear, what injuries are they suffering with and how we can best build programs to support individuals while they work their way out of houselessness and poverty.

Injuries can happen to anyone, at any time, creating new obstacles to daily living and changes in circumstances. What if you’re already facing barriers and obstacles to prosperous daily living? What if new injuries will further decrease your chances of leaving poverty and improving your circumstances?

The Injury Prevention Centre gathered information from 2019 & 2020 to look at more than 11,600 emergency room visits. This report, Houselessness and Injuries in Alberta: 2019-2020, dives into what injuries are sustained and shows us which injuries are preventable. While no one can prepare and prevent all injuries, we can look at the data to determine priorities in programming.

One thing the data makes clear is that Housing First and harm reduction practices would prevent more than half of these injuries. We need to ensure we’re communicating this to the public, so that we can all work towards a community where people are safe no matter their circumstances.

We invite you to read the report below to learn more and see the data for yourself.

Cover of IPC Report on Houselessness and Injuries

Bill’s Story – Finding a Fresh Start

My name is Bill and I received a second chance at life after finding out about Bissell and the supports they offer. Bissell does amazing work helping those Edmontonians like me who are struggling to get by after life has kicked them down. And I’m so thankful I was able to access Bissell Centre’s programs back when I needed them most.

Back when Covid-19 first hit, I had a job at a restaurant, and plenty of experience in the industry. Then the restaurant closed without warning. It was total chaos for restaurants, like so many jobs, so finding work at another was impossible.

I didn’t have any savings, and soon I could no longer afford my rent. I had to give up my apartment and I moved into a rooming house. I didn’t know the people I was living with and there was no privacy. But hey, I had a roof over my head. I was grateful for that much at least.

Someone at that point told me about Bissell as a place to warm up and find something to eat. I didn’t think I’d ever end up going to a place like Bissell, but I’m glad I did. That first visit changed my life and it all started with a warm plate of food.

The food tasted great and the staff was even better. Everyone was so welcoming. That kept bringing me back.

But still, I found myself bored without a job, as I grew up on a farm where hard work is required and my motto has always been “if you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.” As soon as the staff at Bissell knew of my urge to get back to work, they sent me to their Employment Services team, who were able to find me a steady job almost right away.

I wish I could say that’s the end of the story and everything worked out just fine.

Just as everything seemed to be falling into place and I felt like I had a second chance, I was hit with another blow: the rooming house I called home burned down. Everything I owned was now dust. I can’t begin to describe how I felt. I was scared, lonely, sad and angry all at once.

For the second time in one year, I was homeless. This time, thankfully I knew where to turn for help.

When I was homeless, all I could think about was how I was going to stay out of the cold, and where to find my next meal. Bissell was a warm place to go and always had a meal for me. After getting to know some of the staff, I reached out and asked for help finding a place to live and work.

The staff at Bissell got me connected with temporary lodging. Then I found another rooming house, but I didn’t feel safe there. Bissell Centre staff were able to connect me with their Community Bridge program and I found an apartment of my own.

I also now work full-time at the Bissell Centre Community Space and it’s so rewarding to work in the same space I once turned to for support. I don’t know where I would be without Bissell Centre and I am glad I never had to find out.

For me, all the support from Bissell started from a simple meal. Please make a donation to Bissell’s Easter meal and help others find the holiday meal that could be just the fresh start they’re looking for. Bissell’s Easter meal is an annual event and serves hundreds of Edmontonians. Your generosity (a single meal costs just $3.20) ensures that others receive the same helping hand that Bissell offered to me.

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