Bissell Centre in Desperate Need of Steel-Toe Boots to Help People Find Work!

Bissell Centre is urging the public to help… ensuring those in need can continue to receive job opportunities that require safety equipment. As construction season ramps up in our city, Bissell Centre is in great need of 200 pairs of new and gently used men’s steel-toe boots, size 9 – 12 to ensure low income individuals looking for work are able to get jobs and work safely.


Guided by the vision of eliminating poverty in our community, Bissell Centre works with others to empower people to move from poverty to prosperity. “Employment Services plays a key role in connecting Edmonton’s impoverished population with meaningful work placements,” says Mark Holmgren, CEO Bissell Centre. “Many placements require basic safety equipment, which Bissell Centre normally provides, but currently there are no steel-toe boots available for program participants.”

We are asking the community-minded citizens of Edmonton to donate CSA approved steel-toe boots to us at 10527 96 Street, or our Thrift Shoppe Sorting Centre at 8818 118 Ave.

OR you can donate to buy a pair and get a tax receipt using our donations page.

Bissell Centre’s no-fee job placement service, its Casual Labour program, helps the community by connecting employers and workers, enabling placements to occur seven days a week. In 2012 the program saw remarkable success in filling over 14,000 placements, putting $1M into the hands of the less fortunate community. Since many of the placements are helping with concrete labour, roofing installation, and construction labour, steel-toe boots are often a necessity to being able to assist our impoverished population in finding employment and helping them move out of poverty.

In addition to temporary placements Bissell Centre provides worker training; this includes work preparedness programs, pre-employment training, safety training, employment counseling, resume building and life skills training.

For more information about Bissell Centre Employment Services please contact Mark Bubel, Employment Services Manager at 780-423-2285 ext 139.   

A gift from a grateful family

Yesterday a lovely family came into our Childcare Centre bearing gifts for our children – mini candy canes, a turkey for our Food Services program, and a beautiful Christmas card and typed letter for our Childcare staff.   This family came from Russia  a year and a half ago, and moved to Edmonton six months ago with little money and  no jobs. They had brought their two daughters (ages 4 and 2) to our Childcare when they first arrived to Edmonton. They needed someone to watch their kids so that they could apply for jobs and do interviews. Once they found employment, they needed our services until they could get their kids into an affordable daycare.   They came back yesterday with gratitude on their faces, in their hands, and written in  their beautiful card.Christmas Card
This is what their letter said:

“Words alone can’t begin to thank you for all the love and care you have given us. We are very grateful to have had your faces to greet us every morning. Without you guys we don’t know how well we would have made it.   You helped us in good times and bad and gave us the extra confidence we needed to go on.   You were always there to tell us everything will be okay.  

We are writing to let you know how much we have appreciated the excellent job you have done over the period while my daughters have been attending your daycare centre.   They have really thrived in your centre, thanks to your nurturing and creativity.

Thank you very much for the  services your daycare centre has extended to us during the period of crisis. Indeed, it is really your personal care that made us assured of our children, when we were forced to go for some job due to some pressing needs.

Though many services could not be measured in terms of money as compensation, we cannot forget your services and motherly affection to our children when they were with you.   Even though it’s difficult to be away from them while we are working, we have peace of mind in knowing that they are in such good hands during those times.

From the bottoms of our hearts, we express our sincere gratitude to your service once again and thank you very much.


If you’d like to donate to our Childcare program, click here!

Winter Wishes, by Eric Rice

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.  Man with hoodie

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

Written By: Eric Rice,  a volunteer writer for Alberta Street News –

Our New Online Giving Guide Allows You to Designate Your Donations!

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

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

To shop our Giving Guide website go to

Participant’s Artwork Showcased at 4th Annual Edmonton Timeraiser Gala

 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


A Celebration of Life Event at Liliana’s Boutique

In the spirit of giving and the Celebration of Life of women, men and children, LILIANA’S BOUTIQUE is accepting  your  donations of your clean, unwanted coats and jackets in supportof BISSELL CENTRE.   In return for your generosity to provide warmth to the homeless and those less fortunate, Liliana’s Boutique will reward you with $50 towards your new coat or fall fashion wardrobe purchase over $300.   In addition, Michel Germain Perfumes will contribute samples of the Canadian fragrance “SéxÅ«al for Men” for every man’s coat donated.
Your contributions of warmth will be accepted from NOVEMBER 1 – 10, 2012 at  Liliana’s Boutique  ~ 12302 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton
For more information, contact or 780-448-0714.

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!

FLOOD UPDATE: Priority Food Donations Needed!

Despite the extensive damage to our East building caused by recent flooding, Bissell Centre has been able to continue providing essential services to alleviate poverty in our community – thanks largely to our generous donors! We are moved and thankful for the outpouring of community support while we adapt our programs to work around the water damage. Because of the good will of our supporters — individuals and organizations — we are confident we can continue to meet the needs of our community members.
In the coming weeks, we are calling on our supporters to help us to continue providing reliable meals for our community members.  Unfortunately the storage and preparation areas for our meal services have been compromised, so we are looking for mealtime alternatives for our participants.

• Sandwiches (250/day for community members – 200 for drop‐in, 50 for casual labor lunches) We have no kitchen access, so unfortunately cannot accept hot food at this time.
• Snacks like fresh fruit, pudding, yogurt, granola bars, juice boxes and bottled water (250/day)
• Childcare Snacks – Fresh or canned fruit, yogurt, and vegetables for salads
• Ground Coffee, Black Tea, powdered creamer and sugar.

• Intake/Drop‐In – Sunscreen, Insect  repellent
• Men – Razors, deodorant
• Women – Feminine hygiene products, deodorant

• NEW Underwear and Socks
• Any men’s clothing

* Please contact Kristy Berryman at  780.423.2285 x 114 if you would like to donate any food, toiletries or clothing items!

For Food & Financial donations, please drop off at our Main Office:Bissell Centre (East Building, Main Floor Intake/Reception)
10527 96 Street, Edmonton
Phone: 780.423.2285
Drop Off Hours
Monday – Friday, 8am – 4pm

For ALL OTHER donations please
drop off at either of these

 Bissell Thrift Shoppe
8818 118 Avenue, Edmonton
Phone: 780.471.6644
Drop Off Hours
Monday – Saturday, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sunday, 10:00 am – 3:30 pm

South Side Drop-off Location
5120 – 122 Street, Edmonton
*Near the red mailboxes
Phone: 780.432.2377
Drop Off Hours
Monday – Saturday, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sunday: Closed

If you’d like to make a charitable donation, or are interested in hosting a fundraising event, please contact Christopher Weiss at 780.423.2285 x 154  or Joshua Marshall at 780.423.2285 x 123. You can also click HERE to go to our donations page.

FLOOD UPDATE: PTI Delivers Emergency Supplies To Bissell Centre!

Severe flooding has damaged much of our basement facilities and the stockpiles of food and clothing on which our community depends.  PTI – one of Bissell Centre’s trusted and valued donors – stepped forward today with a huge grocery delivery brimming with much needed  emergency supplies!
Extreme rainfall has negatively affected many homes and businesses in the Edmonton area, including those of PTI.  Thankfully, our generous partners recognize that poverty is a hardship on all 365 days of the year.  Without this outpouring of aid, we would be unable to ensure that children, families and individuals have access to the core services that Bissell Centre provides including daily nutrition, quality childcare and access to clean clothing.

PTI’s commendable donation of fruit, sandwiches, milk, socks and soap – among a great many other goods – will go a long way to ensure that Bissell Cente can continue to serve the community as we cope with the aftermath of sewage flooding.

As we continue to receive donations, we would like to thank partners like PTI for helping make our community a better place for everyone.


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.  

Information contact: Kristen Clark,; 780.423.2285 ext 142, cell 780-964-7220

| Bissell Press Release Here |

| PTI Group Press Release on their website |

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