A Message from the CEO
This year has been one for the history books. Despite the shifting challenges of the pandemic, some things have remained constant— like your unwavering support. We can’t thank you enough for rising up to care for Edmontonians in need this summer.
With fall upon us, people experiencing poverty and homelessness are facing new difficulties, like finding safe shelter, dry clothing, and staying warm. With your help, I know we’ll be able to meet the rising need.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for continuing to partner with us to make Edmonton a better place, for everyone.
Gary St. Amand
CEO, Bissell Centre
From Lost to Found
Finding Mickey’s Way Home
This might surprise you, but before Bissell Centre, I literally didn’t know where I was.
I used to think I was just a little forgetful, but the doctors assure me that it’s “just” dementia. All jokes aside, it’s true—my short-term memory is completely fried. When I wake up, every day feels like starting over brand new.
I’ll tell you what I do know.
My name is Mickey and I’m 60 years old. I grew up in Kamloops.
I’ve lived my whole life with epilepsy, so I’m more familiar with chronic health issues than most people. I managed my seizures for years with medication, until the memory loss kicked in.
I can’t be positive, but I think this all started back when I visited a friend of mine in Leduc. I was staying at his house when my health got really bad. He could see I needed more help than he could give me. He tried to get me into a senior’s facility in Edmonton so someone could help make sure I took my medication.
But in the end, I had nowhere to go but a local shelter.
I must’ve forgotten where I was staying because there were nights I ended up sleeping on the street. I had no idea how bad my memory had gotten. Sometimes I’d go out for a walk and just get lost.
When I finally saw a doctor, it was a turning point for me. And when she told me I had dementia, it all started to make sense. Luckily, the doctor suggested I reach out to Bissell Centre for a hot meal and some help finding housing. And I could not be more glad that she did.
When I got there, I met a support worker named Heather. And I have to tell you—I don’t know where I’d be without her. Not only did she help me find a clean, safe place to live. She checks in with me regularly to make sure I’m adjusting to my new home, and helps me get whatever I need. Whether it’s groceries or a ride to the mall, there’s no guesswork. All I have to do is ask.
On top of that, she set me up with a trustee for my finances, organized Meals on Wheels for food, and scheduled home care visits so that I don’t accidentally forget to take my pills. I realize now that I’ve gotta be a lot more careful with myself.
I know I still got a long way to go, but I’m adjusting and taking things in stride. When I talk to one of my buddies, he always tells me, “just keep facing the way you are.” And I think he’s got it right.
Thanks to Bissell Centre, I’m on a good path. I’ve just gotta remember to keep looking in the right direction and keep moving forward.
Capturing Your Gifts at Work!
When hard times hit, people like you jumped at the chance to lend a helping hand. Here’s just a glimpse of all the things your generosity made possible over the last few months.
Please give to provide more people with community, care, and belonging this fall!
Your Support In Action
Changing Lives — One Person at a Time
This summer, our annual Drop Your Gonch underwear drive was an online event. Underwear supplies are always low. But thanks to you—those needs have been met.
Clean underwear is one of the most requested items from people who are experiencing the hardships of homelessness, but it’s one thing that people don’t usually think about donating. Drop Your Gonch aims to raise awareness and bring in the goods! Your contributions provided thousands of boxers, briefs and bras to Edmontonians in need.
Thank you for your incredible support!
As we head into fall, we’re looking forward to our annual Thanksgiving meal. We may not be able to see the smiles beneath the masks, but we know nothing makes people light up quite like a mouthwatering, good meal.
With your help, this year we’ll be modifying our traditional sit-down meal to serve our delicious Thanksgiving dinners to-go! Despite the pandemic, we’re determined to make sure everyone in our community gets to safely enjoy a festive meal of turkey, mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables this fall. Thank you for your support, we couldn’t do it without you!
Do you want to help more Edmontonians struggling to make ends meet? Give online at bissellcentre.org/donate/