Walking the Walk – One Man’s Mission to Help Vulnerable Edmontonians

Josh Hudon, father and business owner, is humble about his achievements, but his collection of 1000 bags for Bissell Centre is anything but a humble feat. He working tirelessly over 9 months to collect the bags, mobilizing a large network to get the job done. The drive and passion to collect the 1000 bags stemmed from a time where he was experiencing financial hardships and could have lost his house and his business.

“It got me thinking about the homeless situation in Edmonton I wanted to do something to help,” explains Josh. “You don’t normally think about homelessness until it really affects you, and that’s what happened to me.”

“You don’t normally think about homelessness until it really affects you.”

 

Another thing that inspired his momentous clothing drive was his participation in the Coldest Night of the Year national fundraising walk last winter. Experiencing firsthand the cold of a winter walk in the dark gave him a deeper empathy for individuals experiencing homelessness in Edmonton and he wanted to do something more to help.

Josh worked closely with his sister to collect and transport the bags a two dozen at a time and met several supporters throughout the campaign who helped him reach his goal. After landing some media opportunities in the fall, bags really began to pour in. On November 19th, 2018, Josh dropped off his 1000th bag.

And he’s not stopping there.

Shortly after collecting “#1000bagsforBissell,” Josh and his friends entered as a team for the Coldest Night of the Year again, with sights set high. Josh’s team hopes to raise $60,000 for Bissell Centre as they participate in the walk. They are already well on their way to achieving this ambitious goal. At the time of writing, Josh’s team is the top fundraising team in Canada for the Coldest Night of the Year, having already raised $14,178.

When asked if he had any advice for teams looking to step up their fundraising efforts, Josh suggested being creative. He has hosted two silent auctions, sold raffle tickets for a large basket giveaway, and reached out to his network for corporate sponsorships. He also recommends dreaming big.

“No one has ever accomplished anything great by setting small, easily achievable goals—you need to reach higher than you might think possible,” explains Josh. He has high expectations of himself, and his drive and ambition are what help him accomplish his mountainous goals.

Support or join Josh’s team, here!

Or, start your own team

 

ENMAX Renews Support of Eviction Prevention Program

We are thrilled to announce that ENMAX has renewed their partnership with our Community Bridge Program! Community Bridge is a rapid response intervention to stop an imminent eviction and provide interventions and services to ensure that the causes of the eviction are effectively addressed to ward off the re-occurrence.

The vision of the program includes strong partnerships across all sectors that leverage existing services while directing funds to the preventative efforts that stop homelessness before it occurs, and sets the stage for actions people and systems can undertake to improve lives and people’s futures. The vision is of a service that reduces the economic costs of poverty that all of us fund in one way or another.

Millie’s story helps explain the value of the program.

Two years ago, Millie’s rent was raised unexpectedly. She knew she needed help if she wanted to stay off the streets, so she applied for assistance from Bissell Centre’s Community Bridge Program.

Community Bridge was able to help Millie afford her rent while she focused on her health and overcoming her alcohol addiction. Without the program, Millie believes she would have been evicted and left homeless once again.

Today, Millie spends her spare time volunteering with various organizations, extending a helping hand to others who are struggling in similar ways she was.

“Now I have a safe home to go to every night, and for that I’m so grateful. I wake up every day not having to worry about where I’ll find a meal.” – Millie

Thank you ENMAX for your significant contribution and support of our Community Bridge Program. We are so grateful for your support and for the positive impact you’ve made and will continue to make in our program participant’s lives!

Servus Credit Union to double your donations for #RestoreBissell fundraiser!

Bissell Centre is proud to announce Servus Credit Union  as a matching donor for the #RestoreBissell  fire relief fundraiser. They will double your donations until the end of the campaign on August 8th to help reach our goal of $25,000 to re-open our Thrift Shoppe in late October. We are currently at 30% of our goal and we encourage you to please donate at restorebissell.org.

“The Bissell Centre takes it upon themselves to provide an essential service to the community by working with their partners. That’s quite similar to how Servus operates and when we heard they had another setback, I think we all gasped a little in disbelief,” says Dan Bruinooge, Chief People & Corporate Services Officer.

He adds that’s why supporting the Bissell Centre’s fund raising campaign makes so much sense to us. “Servus could have looked for other ways to help them out but we chose this because we want to make sure they get back on their feet quickly and we hope that many others make that choice as well by donating today”.

When organizations like the Bissell Centre are supported, we all benefit.

#RestoreBissell  fire relief fundraiser is a two-week online event  where we need your help to  raise $25,000 to re-open the doors to our original Thrift Shoppe for late October.

The online fundraiser started Monday, July 28th and runs until Friday, August 8th. Please donate at restorebissell.org and  spread the word using hashtag #RestoreBissell.

For more information, please contact:

Devin Komarniski Acting Manager of Marketing & Communications dkomarniski@bissellcentre.org

DOTS Donates Clothing to Temporary Thrift Shoppe to Help Restock after the Fire!

Thank you to DOTS Clothing Store for donating three pallets of women’s clothing to our Temporary Thrift Shoppe on Wednesday, November 6th after our original Thrift Shoppe was severely damaged by fire in September. All of the donations were lost in the fire and the generous efforts by DOTS will help to restock the shoppe and provide much need clothing to those living in poverty.  DOTS Clothing Donation Wed. Nov. 6th, 2013 002
We look forward to strengthening our relationship with DOTS through regular clothing donations to the Thrift Shoppe, which will benefit the 5,000 to 6,000 low income people who utilize the shoppe on a monthly basis. Read More…

Community Champions

The images below are of a number of recent community champions that took it upon themselves to do good for others less fortunate than they are. All of these champions are showcased on our Facebook page. And we want to point out the obvious: they are young people who care about their community!
If you don’t visit that page, please take a look and celebrate with us the accomplishments of these wonderful people.

CLICK HERE FOR OUR FACEBOOK PAGE.

Bully Food Truck, Showing What Generosity Means

On Saturday we were very pleased to welcome some new friends and supporters to Bissell Centre.
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Dean and Wendy Gossen are the owners of Bully Food Truck Inc. They take pride in promising “quality gourmet comfort food”, and they delivered on this promise for Edmonton’s inner city community. Read More…

Teens Against Poverty – Ecole Joseph Moreau

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One of the things that is wonderful about working at Bissell Centre is the opportunity to see how people, schools, corporations, and other communities yearn to make a difference.   It is always a joy to provide a tour to our donors or simply to those who want to learn a bit more about the challenges of our inner city clients and maybe break down some assumptions or stigma around poverty and homelessness.

For a third consecutive year, École Joseph Moreau’s “Comité ESPOIR” (Hope Committee) has undertaken some fund raising initiatives to support their less fortunate community.   This small group of Junior High students has raised over $750 and increased awareness of our organization to the leaders of tomorrow.

Success Coach at École Joseph Moreau, Marc Piquette, believes “these kinds of experiences have a real impact on kids and help them understand some of the realities of our society but also the hope and the triumph of the spirit of community.”

Thank you again for your support and we look forward to hosting you for a tour again next year!

Barbara Poole – Remembering a Great Humanitarian

With the passing of Barbara Poole, the staff and community members at Bissell Centre would like to thank one of Edmonton’s most inspiring philanthropists. Barbara was instrumental in making Edmonton a better community – whether through supporting the arts, educational institutions or human services agencies such as Bissell Centre.

Along with her late husband John, the Pooles have contributed millions of dollars, often anonymously, to countess causes in our area.   Their legacy is testament to the value of social responsibility, supporting communities where wealth is earned.

Thank you Barbara for setting such a high example and improving the lives of so many.

A Festival For A Good Cause – A Taste of Riverbend

The students and teachers at Riverbend Junior High have stepped up yet again in their ongoing support of Bissell Centre – this time with A Taste of Riverbend.

This annual food and culture fair is the brainchild of Wes Wintonyk and his Grade 9 Leadership Class.   Designed to celebrate the diversity of the local community, each student is responsible for two food stations representing nations spanning the entire globe – from India to Germany, Korea, and even the North Pole!   This is yet to speak of live entertainment including Scottish bagpipes and Caribbean steel drums.

As part of Riverbend Junior High’s multi-year commitment to Bissell, all funds raised through the event on April 20 go to support our work in the community.   Brisk ticket sales and generous food donations from local businesses mean that this vibrant, creative event will also provide us with financial resources that are always needed.   The students make a genuine difference in the community.

On behalf of everyone at Bissell Centre, I would like to thank all of the parents, volunteers, business owners, teachers and students who made A Taste of Riverbend so successful.

 

Teens Against Poverty Put on an Unforgettable Concert

March 1st was a night that many students, volunteers, and Edmontonians will never forget.   Grade Nine Leadership Students at Riverbend Junior High School, along with help from Grade Eight Leadership Students and all other class rooms, as well as volunteers, organized and hosted an impressive concert and silent auction – Benefit for Bissell 2012, presented by Lexus of Edmonton – at the beautiful Citadel Theatre.  
As guests arrived they were escorted upstairs to the silent auction tables where 65 items were on display for bidding.   Among the most notable were a signed Ryan Nugent-Hopkins jersey, a signed Taylor Hall jersey, a hot air balloon ride, numerous gift baskets and other fabulous items donated by local businesses.

Local performers (listed below) donated their time and talent to ensure the students reached their goal of raising $15,000 for Bissell Centre and in support of our vision to eliminate poverty in our community.  

Maren Ord – Juno nominee
–  Livy Jeanne – award winning country singer/songwriter
–  Madi AmyotteThe Next Star finalist
Martin KerrCanadian Idol contestant
Jeff Ramsey – local musician

The night’s host, Ryan Jespersen from Citytv’s Breakfast Television, was entertaining as always.   Also in attendance was Mayor Stephen Mandel who delivered an inspirational message about youth leadership and ending poverty in Edmonton, and Honourable Dave Hancock, Minister of Human Services who gave a speech about addressing the issues of homelessness as a community.

Year after year Riverbend Jr. High continues to raise money for Bissell Centre by organizing coin drives, hot lunches, dances, and much more.  This year they were able to exceed their fundraising goal for the Benefit for Bissell Concert by securing sponsorships, numerous donations, selling tickets to the event, and through a well organized silent auction.   Their hard work paid off and they raised approximately $23,000 for Bissell Centre!

We are extremely grateful and continuously impressed by the kind hearts and leadership skills of the students at Riverbend Jr. High School.   Keep up the great work class, these skills will take you very far in your life!