Thursday, November 28, 2013

Clothing room update -- another great reuse centre

The clothing room at the Distribution Centre for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (the small chapel on the corner of 108th Avenue and 109th Street, just outside St. Joe's High School) has gone through a major upgrade since I was last there in February. Over the last 8 months my mom kept me up to date on my favourite folks who come to the Centre, and on the SSVP's reno plans and progress. Yesterday, for the first time since Shadow-puppy joined our family, I went to volunteer (after taking him for a long walk) and to see the "new" place.

Here's a view of the tiny bit of floor space where clothing for men, women and children used to be displayed:

(You can't see the second crowded aisle on the other side of the housecoats...)
And below, the cramped room where volunteers unpacked donated clothing.

Over the last several months, furniture and large items were moved to another building to facilitate the reorganization and renos, and some generous people donated a hefty sum that was used to brighten the entire space, rearrange the different "departments" somewhat, and enlarge the clothing area. Old walls were removed and new walls added, different sections were moved around (I'm not sure where the repair workstation went -- forgot to ask) and the whole place received a fresh coat of paint and new lighting.

The renovations are a vast improvement.The new and improved Terry Mahon Clothing Room (named for the son/brother of our generous donors) feels four times the size of the old space, which has now been transformed -- the small space where shoppers had to climb over each other to get clothing items for men, women and children is only one of three larger "shopping" areas. The old space is now just the women's section...

Look at those nice wide aisles!

A well-lit, full-sized men's section fills the space where 
walls and shelving units once were (back then, the men's "department" 
-- though you could hardly call two shelves and two racks a department -- 
had been squished against one wall and into a dark corner of the old space):

I love the bright new area where kids and babies clothing, books 
and toys are displayed... there's even a live plant! 
The ceiling is high, making the air circulation much better 
than it used to be... and the lighting is vastly improved!

We also have room to move as volunteers, 
with a long high table for unpacking donations 
and lots of shelving with bins for storing extra items 
so that we don't run short of things so often.

The City of Edmonton has an excellent Reuse Centre, but this non-city-affiliated one is my hands-down favourite, mainly because of all the people with "hearts for the poor" who work here, and all our homeless friends who visit. Saving stuff from the landfill isn't as important to us as helping people in need, but I'm sure the City's Waste Management Services would be impressed with our efforts to reuse, recycle, and reduce the stuff that goes to the landfill! 

Thanks to the Mahon family for their generosity, and congratulations to Daryl D. and all the volunteers who renovated and reorganized this place to better serve our brothers and sisters in need, especially Louise and my mom, who put things in their proper places. 

"Well done, good and faithful servants!" 


  1. Can you tell me a little about how / where to donate? We just did a wardrobe purge and all the summer items are going to family in the Philippines but the winter ones need a new home too. Do the homeless get to 'shop' the facility for free?

    1. Yes, the homeless get their items for free, Nicola, but we encourage everyone else to give a donation for the items they take. We're always in need of coats, boots and underwear items... but seem to be swimming in too much of everything else. If you have time to drop some winter things at my place, I'll see that they get to the clothing room..

  2. Thanks Maria. We ended up giving the winter items to some immigrant workers from the Philippines who are doing outdoor work here in Edmonton. However, I still have 3 mens suits needing a home, would they be of any use?

    1. I'd recommend taking them to the Salvation Army, Nicola (they're the other most charitable second-hand organization). The people who come to the Clothing Room don't often need suits, though we keep just a few on hand in case.


Take a minute and tell me what you think...