Spence Street Thrift Shop is reborn

The Spence Street Thrift Shop is welcoming shoppers in the West End again after a three-week closure for renovations.

“We did some new paint, new colour, we updated the flooring and made the store more efficient and the racks are more enticing,” said Thrift Shop Coordinator Kristy Muckosky on Monday at a reopening celebration and ribbon-cutting.

Thrift Shop coordinator Kristy Muckosky, left, and PFSS executive director Rhonda Elias-Penner cut a ribbon to mark the shop reopening.

Thrift Shop coordinator Kristy Muckosky, left, and PFSS executive director Rhonda Elias-Penner cut a ribbon to mark the shop reopening.

The Thrift Shop, located at Sargent Ave. and Spence St., helps support Pregnancy and Family Support Services (PFSS) – a neighbourhood family centre and United Way agency partner that provides respite daycare, family counselling, parenting classes and monthly emergency food and baby-supply services. United Way hopes to offer 2800 more Winnipeggers a chance to access this kind of help close to home at their local family centres by 2019.

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“Thank you everybody for all the support. We know that this renovation is going to go a long way to not only generating more support and income for the Thrift Shop and the organization, but also just comfort and safety and dignity for the people that are coming here and not feeling like they’re shopping in a dungeon,” said PFSS executive director Rhonda Elias-Penner.

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PFSS board member and long-time United Way volunteer Bonnie Macdonell said the shop also provides work and volunteer opportunities for community members.

“There’s opportunities through programs United Way has sponsored for members of our multi-national community to have a chance to work and gain experience at the shop,” Bonnie said.

PFSS board chair Bonnie Macdonell has volunteered to help guide the direction and impact of United Way agency partners for 20 years.

PFSS board chair Bonnie Macdonell has volunteered to help guide the direction and impact of United Way agency partners for 20 years.

Kristy said the shop, which is celebrating 30 years in the community, had not seen any significant renovations in about 20 years.

2016 is the 30th anniversary of the Thrift Shop - a great excuse for some cake!

2016 is the 30th anniversary of the Thrift Shop – a great excuse for some cake!

She expressed gratitude to the Richardson Foundation and United Way for their support through the Essential Needs Fund, without which the renovations could not have happened.

“They didn’t just buy materials, they helped create a calming space for people to come in every day and socialize and feel safe and uplifted.”

Investors Group provided $7,000 for new security cameras, Home Depot gave them some generous discounts, and Spark – a service of the Canadian Economic Development Network that matches professionals who want to donate their skills and time to community development projects – found an interior designer who helped Kristy navigate the maze of suppliers.

Important on-the-ground help came from Great-West Life employees volunteering their sweat equity during United Way Days of Caring. Employees spent two days painting, sorting, cleaning, and moving heavy things.

Kristy, left, chats with four Great-West Life Day of Caring volunteers at the celebration.

Kristy, left, chats with four Great-West Life Day of Caring volunteers at the celebration.

“There were a couple of men who came in and said ‘make us do heavy lifting, we want to work’ and I said ‘perfect’,” said Kristy.

Great-West Life employee Trudy Lanouette came out with three co-workers and fellow Day of Caring volunteers on Monday for the ribbon-cutting.

“It was great how they explained how this helps the community and the family centre next door,” said Trudy.

“It was quite neat to see everything that the United Way is involved in.”

Great-West Life is one of  many workplaces whose employees volunteer to help community organizations through United Way Days of Caring to complete short-term projects that require a little extra people power.

“It’s a great time. It is nice to come out with our co-workers and give back to the community,” said Trudy.

“It’s a great team-building experience as well as being able to help.”

Ready for your Christmas shopping needs!

Ready for your Christmas shopping needs!

The Spence Street Thrift Shop is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. except during long weekends.

Caring about kids

Community effort brings new shed for daycare at PFSS

Thanks to the generous help of United Way Day of Caring volunteers, the daycare at Pregnancy & Family Support Services (PFSS) has a new shed for their toys and supplies.

The shed was a true community effort by several groups. Manitoba Public Insurance and National Leasing led the initial planning and construction of the shed, which was donated by McMunn and Yates Building Supplies. Volunteers from Home Depot joined the effort to complete the shed this past June.

National Leasing volunteers in full framing mode.

National Leasing volunteers in full framing mode.

“It’s awesome,” said PFSS executive director Rhonda Cenerini.

“Having all our stuff in there, having a place to put everything…it’s safe and our toys will last longer.”

Rhonda said it was cumbersome for staff to lug things in and out of their building when their kids played outside. Now everything’s more accessible to staff and kids, which improves the daycare experience.

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Home Depot volunteers hard at work.

In their July newsletter PFSS writes, “It was really fun for the children to watch the men work. One of the children shouted out ‘be careful’ when one of the workers was on the roof of the shed. It was so sweet when the volunteer yelled back ‘I will thanks!’ What a great sense of community.”

PFSS, a United Way agency partner, is a neighbourhood family centre that provides respite daycare, family counselling, parenting classes, and operates a thrift shop. They’ve been serving people in their West End community since 1973.

Learn more about hosting or volunteering for a United Way Day of caring online.

National Leasing's crew framed for a perfect picture.

National Leasing’s crew framed for a perfect picture.

The Home Depot volunteer team stands in front of the finished shed.

The Home Depot volunteer team stands in front of the finished shed.

 

The perfect match for moms and babies.

It’s a beautiful thing when an offer of help matches perfectly with a real need. The result? A perfect Day of Caring for healthy moms and babies.

United Way partner agency Pregnancy and Family Support Services (PFSS) submitted a Day of Caring request for some new flooring in their Family Resource Centre on Spence Street—a space where they host prenatal and Baby & Me classes.

The old floor—well-used carpet now nearly a decade old—wasn’t looking very clean, and was unsuitable for babies to crawl on.

The old floors at PFSS.

In a stroke of good luck, our friends at Architecture 49 asked us if we knew anyone who needs new flooring. It seems some good people at Studio Floors required installation training for premium rubber flooring made by nora, and they hoped to find somewhere to practice.

This past March the two came together and the perfect match was transformed into a clean, new space for moms and babies.

Of course, floor installation is a good time for a paint job! Enter some wonderful Day of Caring volunteers from Great-West Life and Johnston Group, who quickly stepped in to paint the trim and walls of the centre’s front entrance, food room, boardroom and hallway.

Great-West Life volunteers in action

Great-West Life volunteers in action.

A caring group from the Johnston Group outside the centre.

A caring group from the Johnston Group outside the centre.

With paint job complete, a technical trainer from nora guided Studio Floors’ professional team to install new commercial rubber flooring – all at no cost to the centre!

The team from nora and Studio Floors

The team from nora and Studio Floors.

Rhonda Cenerini, acting executive director at PFSS, is thankful for the generosity of everyone involved.

“It is amazing. It is so clean and easy to keep clean, and so bright & colourful.”

Rhonda says the impact for mothers and their babies has been very positive.

The health and cleanliness of the space is amazing. We’re very confident now allowing babies to crawl around and letting mom lay on mats on the floor.”


Pregnancy and Family Support Services, an inner-city United Way agency partner, has a mission of offering services that support pregnant women, foster family life, empower individuals and grow community. Visit them online at www.pfsswinnipeg.com

Workplace of the Week: Lafarge’s “concrete” commitment to a better community!

Construction giant Lafarge‘s corporate promise is “building better cities.” And they do, one Day of Caring at a time!

Pregnancy and Family Support Services, a United Way agency partner who support pregnant women and encourage family life, operate a licensed daycare in the West Central neighbourhood as part of their services.

Lafarge Day of Caring.

Lafarge volunteers, L-R: Denise Gillen, Dawn Fraser, Joe Philham, Stephen Van Walleghem, Sal Giancola, Damion LeBrun. Front: Kaela-Mea Hlushko

Over four days, Lafarge volunteers gave the child care centre’s 12’x16′ play yard and 20’x5′ garden area a facelift by removing existing grass, pea gravel, soil and rocks and clearing out the garden area.

Lafarge Day of Caring.

Lafarge Day of Caring.

Volunteers removed all of the rubber matting, laid a proper foundation, and replaced rubber matting throughout the play area. Volunteers also installed astroturf.

Lafarge Day of Caring.

Thanks also to these people and businesses who contributed time and resources to the project:

  • Joe Philham & Sal Giancola of Behr Star, donated the equipment and their time
  • Protime/Perfect Turf gave the daycare a great deal on the astroturf and a landscaper associate installed it for free
  • Brock White donated the sand
  • Lafarge donated the quarter down and supplies

Lafarge’s contributions to a stronger Winnipeg are “concrete”, and this one will be enjoyed by some of the smallest Winnipeggers!

Young Winnipeg leaders make a difference in our community & earn $500 scholarships.

The United Way Youth Leaders in Action Scholarship was created by the Youth Relations Council (YRC) to celebrate the contributions of young community leaders who have made a difference in the lives of the people around them.

The $500 scholarship has been awarded to four recipients each year since 2007. This year, the council had the opportunity to award 5 YLIA scholarships and are proud to announce the 2011 recipients.

2011 YLIA scholarship recipient Bemnet Hallegiorgis.Bemnet Hailegiorgis sought out the resources provided by Pregnancy and Family Support Services after arriving in Canada from Ethopia. As a regular client, Bemnet realized she wanted to pursue a career at the agency. She began volunteering in 2008 in a number of departments and took on a position as a part-time sub in the day care shortly after. Currently, Bemnet is a full time employee working towards a degree in International Development Studies at the University of Winnipeg.

2011 YLIA scholarship recipient Sabrina Ferreira.Sabrina Ferreira started off participating in the West Central Community Program when she was in elementary school. Once she reached grade 7, Sabrina asked to become a junior volunteer. She continued to volunteer until she was 18, at which point she was hired into a part-time position. Sabrina is a student at the University of Winnipeg, hoping to earn an Education degree.

2011 YLIA scholarship recipient Josef Bader.Josef Bader found support and guidance within the programs of Rose & Max Rady Jewish Community Centre when he moved to Winnipeg from Brazil. Once he felt established in his new home, Josef wanted to help others in the community in a similar capacity. Josef has volunteered with the centre in a wide range of programs including the day care, the after school program and in the library. Josef is a student at the University of Manitoba, hoping to apply for Medicine after completing his undergraduate degree.

2011 YLIA scholarship recipient Josef Bader.Seneca Chartrand has been a program participant and volunteer with the Rainbow Resource Centre for the past year. She speaks at community events and is a leader in the youth programs. In the future, Seneca plans to become a youth drop-in leader when the centre is able to establish a weekend program. Seneca will be graduating high school in June of this year and has applied to the Creative Communications program at Red River College.

2011 YLIA scholarship recipient Samantha Kornelsen.Samantha Kornelsen has worked full-time for Mediation Services for 20 months. She is the Training Administrator for the Resolution Skills Centre. She has begun to coordinate all the marketing initiatives that take place in the organization ensuring resources are available for participants. Samantha also supports individuals with disabilities through St. Amant Centre. She plans to continue her education in the Marketing and Public Relations diploma program at the University of Winnipeg.

This year’s recipients have demonstrated their leadership and commitment to the city by volunteering, participating and working at various United Way agency partners. Congratulations to Bemnet, Sabrina, Josef, Seneca and Samantha! Your contributions are so valuable.

Applications for the 2012 Youth Leaders in Action scholarship awards will be available in the fall.