United for Bissell Fundraiser – Feb. 21st, 2015

Bissell Centre is pleased to announce that the United for Bissell Committee, a group of dedicated volunteers and Bissell Centre supporters from  the United Church, will be hosting the “United for Bissell” Gala Dinner & Silent Auction on February 21, 2015 at Southminster-Steinhauer United Church.  Spearheaded by long-time supporters of Bissell Centre Tammy and Clare Irwin, all proceeds from the evening will be directly supporting our efforts to eliminate poverty in our community.

“United for Bissell” seeks to bring back elements of the Bissellebration Gala, which ran for over 20 years. The evening will feature an impressive silent auction, full dinner service, entertainment, and will be hosted by Bissell Centre’s former Executive Director Larry Derkach.

It is guaranteed to be an evening of celebration in support of Bissell Centre and we would love for you to be there!

Details of the Event:

What: “United for Bissell” Gala Dinner and Silent Auction

Where: Southminster-Steinhauer Church in Edmonton (10740-19 Ave)

When: February 21, 2015

Time: 5:00pm (Refreshments) / 6:00pm (Dinner) – followed by entertainment

To purchase tickets or if you would like to know more about the “United for Bissell” Gala Dinner & Silent Auction, please contact Tammy Irwin at 780.434.6618 or by e-mail at bumble47@telus.net.

Thank You to our Supporters and Volunteers during the Festive Season

The festive season is a special time of the year to spend with friends and family. Bissell Centre wants to express a sincere thank you to all of our supporters and volunteers who helped make Christmas and New Year’s a joyous time for the people in the inner-city community.

With the  support from numerous donors and over 80 volunteers,  we were able to provide Christmas gifts at our Festive Giveaway event for 120 low-income  families, who otherwise would have struggled to provide presents for their loved ones at home. We were able to serve close to 600  turkey dinners  spread across  Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day in our Drop-in Centre for people who are looking for a warm meal and a place to connect with friends.

Our New Year’s Day Dinner on January 1st, we were able to serve close to  1,000 meals to people from the inner-city. With support from companies, organizations,  and over 90 volunteers, the event  was a special time for friends and families to come together to welcome 2015  and have what could be their first warm meal of the year.

Thank you to everyone who helped make the festive season memorable for people who struggle with homelessness and poverty in Edmonton.

You can change people’s lives this winter

As many as 800 people needing warmth and a meal will come to Bissell Centre every day over the  winter. We see people who are hungry, in need of a  home, and looking to change their lives.

People like Bun, who endured years of abuse,  struggles with addiction and homelessness. She hurts and counts on our healing support daily.

Read  HERE  about how you can help people like Bun this winter.

Thrift Shoppe Open for Business after Fire Re-Build

Bissell Centre’s Thrift Shoppe has re-opened its doors at the original location at 8818-118th avenue after two devastating fires destroyed the main building in September 2013 and  the temporary location in June 2014.

Thanks to everyone who supported us during the rebuild and helped to open our doors!

The re-opening of the store is vital to the well-being of low-income individuals and families in Edmonton. The two fires directly affected the 6,000 low-income people who were forced to look elsewhere for affordable clothing and household goods.

The store also provides free clothes to impoverished families and individuals through our Community Closet Program, plus it provides funding to support various Bissell Centre programs and services.

For more information about the Thrift Shoppe and donation drop-off locations and hours, please click here.


You can change lives like Jim’s this Christmas

With your support we can help people like Jim, who struggled with depression and drug abuse after losing his job years ago due to health issues. Jim worked out of town and rented a room from a friend to store his belongings. Whenever he came to Edmonton, he stayed with friends and family, never needing to rent his own apartment. With no rental history and his job loss, Jim became chronically homeless. With no references to provide landlords or proof of income, no one would rent him an apartment: “At one point I had $2,200 in my pocket and I couldn’t find a place to stay, so I slept in a shelter.”

Read about Jim’s transformation  HERE.



Art in the heART of The City Visual Art Exhibit: Dec. 2nd-18th

Discover emerging artists at the  Art in the heART of The City Visual Art Exhibit next week at  City Hall!  

The Exhibit will feature  41 artworks by 12 artists who are creating in the inner city neighbourhoods of Boyle and McCauley and is the first of its kind undertaken in The City. The Exhibit will recognize,  celebrate, and explore the talent and creativity of the artists who are in the core of our city.  

Participant artists are from Bissell Centre and Boyle Community Services, iHuman, E4C HUB, and George Spady Society.

The Exhibit runs from Dec. 2nd -18th at Edmonton City Hall and is  presented by a not-for-profit community partnership between the inner city agencies of Bissell Centre, Boyle Street Community Services, The Works Society, The City of Edmonton, and supported by the Edmonton Community Foundation and The Stollery Charitable Foundation.  

For more information about the Exhibit, please view the poster here.

Click here to download the media release.


Welcome to the new bissellcentre.org

Our new website was just launched and I hope it meets your needs as a visitor and supporter of Bissell Centre. As the CEO of Bissell Centre, I believe we need to be fully engaged with the community, not only about the work we do, but about the significant issues and challenges our community faces with respect to poverty, homelessness, mental illness, addictions, and so forth.

That engagement is not only here on our website but through social media, where we are present and active on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If you don’t follow us there, click on one of the links and please do.

Our new website is here for people seeking help, professionals who are trying to help a client, for community members who are interested in volunteering, donating, and learning more about social issues and solutions.

We will be continuing to develop the site to make additional improvements as well as expand upon resources and opportunities that may interest you and your family, colleagues, and friends. Please encourage others to visit us.

Bringing a new website to the Internet is no small feat. It involves so many working collaboratively to come up with the design, the functionality desired, and the content (narrative and images). It is also an exercise in branding and how to structure something that works for you.

I am so very grateful to the following:

Lift Interactive
On their website, the folks at Lift Interactive call themselves a “multidisciplinary team of strategists, designers, storytellers, & creative coders.” Well, it’s true. They are that, but much more. They are colleagues, friends, and collaborators par excellence! In my career, I have been involved in numerous web projects and worked with many fine people. Lift Interactive is by far the best group I have worked with. I send many thanks and our deep respect to the talents and work ethic of the entire team at Lift. I am also grateful, as is my entire team, for the generosity of the principals, Micah and Kristi Slavens for the significant “free-of-charge” contribution they committed to getting this website from a dream of ours to a reality. Bissell Centre did pay for some of the development, but Lift’s pro bono contribution went far beyond my expectations and represents the lion’s share of what the true cost was of this website. They rock! Check them out.

Devin Komarniski
Many of you might know Devin from Twitter and our other social media sites. He came to us earlier this year and is Bissell Centre’s social media specialist, though I might just change his title to “social marketing guru.” He led the way in forming our partnership with Lift Interactive, and has been our lead visionary here at Bissell in the creation of our website. Without his leadership, not to mention his hard work and stellar commitment to quality, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Rob Fragoso
Rob is our lead fund development specialist and was a key partner, with Devin and Lift, on getting this website up and running. I charged him with ensuring the online donation process was clean, easy, and secure and provided a good experience for those who wish to support us. He also played a substantive role in the design vision of the web site. He provided his time and expertise while meeting all of the many other expectations of his job here at Bissell.

Darren Brennan
Darren is a key component of our marketing and fundraising teams, and has been involved in the website design project all along the way.   He’s provided his keen insight to the team, and has been quick to take on the many challenges presented by such a large undertaking.   Darren will continue to play a large role in the maintenance and evolution of our new website.

Mary Higgs
To call Mary versatile would be an understatement. She is my Executive Assistant, provides unparalleled support to my board of governors, and also serves as our Special Projects Manager. As we got closer to our deadline, I asked her to help the team get all of the content up. This meant learning a new back end and project managing the significant work in providing you with the content you see on every page.

We have done our best to launch with an error-free website. You won’t find any “Under Construction” pages here (I just hate sites like that, don’t you?). However, if you see a problem or a glitch, please let us know. While we strive for perfection, we know that sometimes things go wrong and your help in knowing when that happens would be much appreciated.

Thank you,

Mark Holmgren, CEO

Warmer Winter for People in Need

Bissell Centre, along with other organizations in Edmonton, has received Winter Warming funding from Homeward Trust as part of their Winter Emergency Response (WER)  program, which will extend the operation of support services in our Drop-in Centre for people on the streets during the upcoming winter months. Starting November 1st, our Drop-in Centre will be open from 6:00am – 9:00pm until April 30th, 2015 (seven days a week, including holidays) as an essential destination for temporary respite for people who are experiencing homelessness during the harsh, winter conditions.

The Drop-in Centre will provide a warm, safe place for people who are outside in the cold, and will continue to provide for their basic needs such as: access to warm clothing, bathrooms, showers, and snacks during the extended hours of service.

The public also plays a vital role in the well-being of people on the street who are facing the harsh, winter weather. Bissell Centre’s 24/7 MAP crisis intervention team can be dispatched by calling 211 and will connect people with emergency shelters in the community to ensure their safety.

Think about attending “Deepening Community”

Tamarack Institute’s Paul Born is giving a workshop on October 28th here in Edmonton called Deepening Community for Collective Impact. I encourage you to think about attending, whether you are a service provider, funder, government representative, or a citizen concerned about how to build and nurture stronger communities. From the event information page: ”  In his recently released book, Paul Born describes the four pillars of deep community: sharing our stories, taking the time to enjoy one another, taking care of one another, and working together for a better world.

It’s up to us to create community. In this workshop, Paul will apply the principles of Deepening Community to the work of Collective Impact to help you strengthen relationships, build trust, and sustain momentum in your community change efforts.

Each workshop attendee will receive a copy of Deepening Community: Finding Joy Together in Chaotic Times.

Information and Registration is RIGHT HERE.

Use this promo code to get the discount rate for individuals:  EDSPOFFER

Edmonton Chefs Collaborate with City Market Downtown in Support of Bissell Centre

As harvest season is in full swing, the City Market Downtown will be joined by five of Edmonton’s innovative culinary up and comers to host a fundraising event for Bissell Centre on Sunday, October 5th.

The Edmonton-based chefs have created a fall-harvest specific menu based on seasonal produce and proteins found exclusively at the City Market Downtown. The dinner, which will be hosted at SABOR Restaurant, will include seafood direct from Iceland, farm-raised pork and beef — the freshest ingredients direct from market vendors.

“This exciting event is to raise awareness and funds for the Bissell Centre, a organization near and dear to our vendors and customers” says Dan Young, board chairman of City Market Downtown. “It makes sense for us in partnership with some of the best and brightest in Edmonton’s food scene to organize a family-style harvest feast to raise funds for this important work being done at the Bissell Centre each day.”

Collaborative menu designed by:

Chef Bryan Cruz – The Marc Chef Edgar Gutierrez – Tres Carnales and Rostizado Chef Brayden Kozak – Three Boars Chef Adelino (Lino) Oliviera – SABOR Restaurant Chef Charla Padilla – Madison’s Grill

The harvest feast will also include special guest Chef Pierre Lamielle from Calgary, a recent Chopped Canada champion and Top Chef Canada competitor. He is co-owner of foodonyourshirt.com with partner Candace.

Get your tickets now via Eventbrite!