Due to the severe thunderstorm we experienced on Monday, July 23, parts of downtown experienced a sewage surge/backup, including our Bissell Centre East building. The contamination and fumes are so severe that we had to close our building, including our Food Room, Kitchen, Child Care and Community Closet. The extent of the damage is still being assessed however we are currently estimating repair, clean up and replacement costs and damages are severe.
As our storage areas for food are compromised, we are asking you for support the best way you can – helping us via monetary donations. Donations can be made:
- Online using our donations page
- By Phone at 780.423.2285 Ext. 365
- By Mail to 10527 – 96 Street, Edmonton, AB, T5H 2H6
You can also help by:
- Donating clothing, household goods, and children’s toys to the Bissell Centre Thrift Shoppe at 8818 – 118 Avenue.
- Contributing gift cards for Safeway and Wal-Mart.
- Providing gifts of disposable plates and cutlery for our meals.
All aid is valuable. Thank you for your generous support.
If you feel that your corporation has the potential to make a significant contribution to our facilities or financially, please contact us at: 780.423-2285.
Q & A with Mandy, Community Closet Worker
So what do you do at Bissell?
I work in the Community Closet. I do paperwork, sort donations and organize the closet to keep it tidy.
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.
As the cost of living continues to increase, access to transportation is an ongoing concern to many of those we help. As a recipient agency of the City of Edmonton’s Donate-a-Ride program, we are able to provide free transit tickets – helping people return to school, obtain gainful employment, prevent home eviction and attend often life-saving, medical appointments.
Recently, a young man came to Bissell Centre in desperate need of help to prevent being evicted from his home – picking bottles for the bus fare he needed to make it here. Meeting with one of our workers, we were able to connect him to Bissell services for resume writing and casual labour, as well as make him an appointment with Alberta Employment and Immigration to discuss his desire to return to school. All that was missing was the means to return home and attend his appointment for a chance at school and work. Through Donate-a-Ride, Bissell Centre was able to give the young man five tickets – one to go home, two for his appointment and two more for work.
By supporting Bissell Centre with bus tickets, this young man was able to receive funds to prevent his eviction, secure funding to return to school at NorQuest and obtain work through our Casual Labour Program to pay for food and transportation. Imagine – five bus tickets were all it took to prevent homelessness and secure a future.
“Thank you Bissell Centre, without your help with bus tickets I would never be able to keep all of my doctor’s appointment to stay alive.”
“Without ID I couldn’t work. Without bus fare I couldn’t get my ID. Thank you for opening your hearts and the 2 tickets. I got a job now.”