Blessing and Dedication of SSVP Brant Thrift Store

May 11, 2019, Brantford, ON.

It’s a celebration and a blessing of our new Thrift Store.

His Excellency, Bishop Douglas Crosby O.M.I.  from the Diocese of Hamilton helped celebrate the opening of the new Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Brant Thrift Store in Brantford with his blessing ceremony on Saturday May 11, 2019. In addition to his blessing of the new Thrift Store Bishop Crosby recognized the work of the Brant volunteer Vincentians in helping our neighbours in need. The Bishop  stated, “This impressive new Thrift Store is a testament to the ongoing work of local Vincentian volunteers whose mission is to live the message of the gospel to serve Christ in the poor with love, respect, justice and joy.” “It was a privilege to have Bishop Crosby here to give his blessing of our new Thrift Store in Brantford” stated Pat Lenz, President, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Particular Council of Brant.

The move to the new Thrift Store at 143 Wellington Street at Clarence has been at least three years in the making since the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul decided to sell their store on Colborne Street and purchase the former Crosby Cable YMCA building.

Volunteers conducted tours for the Bishop and his deanery, dignitaries, donors and honoured invited guests. An inspiring Wall of Recognition acknowledging donors to the capital campaign was unveiled to those in attendance. Some of those recognized The City of Brantford, The Diocese of Hamilton, Empire Homes, SC Johnson & Son, Hankinson Foundation, Don & Joanne Wilkin, Steve & Helen Kun and Ron and Joan Underwood & Family. The Catholic Women’s League of St. Pius Church conducted a private reception then the new store opened to the public for shopping from 1:00 – 4:00 pm.

The new Saint Vincent de Paul Thrift Store offers free parking for over 70 vehicles. The entire facility is on one floor making it accessible for all. It has twice the retail space, twice the loading space, twice the sorting area, a volunteer staff lunchroom, and a large boardroom and reception area including a drive up door to accept donations.

In addition, the sparkling new retail space offers clothing in one large area for women, men, and children, furniture in another area and household items in still another area. The larger space, large aisles, new shopping carts, larger private change rooms and more choice makes for a pleasant shopping experience. What also makes the SSVP Brant Thrift Store unique is that all of the people who work in the store are volunteers, including supervisory staff. Although the Society is a lay Catholic organization store volunteers come from all backgrounds and need not be affiliated with any religious organization.

Vincentians were grateful to Bishop Crosby for the blessing ceremony and look forward to seeing new  shoppers as well as familiar faces from their previous location at their new Thrift Store.   

Mother’s Day Outreach by SSVP Brant Thrift Store

May 8, 2019 by Director of Systemic Change Marg Beach: The SSVP Brant Thrift Store went out to the Stepping Stones Resource Centre at Riverside Gardens on May 8th to coincide with a children’s after school activity.  A variety of our jewellery was put on display.  Each child was able to choose a gift for their mother for Mother’s Day.  Gift bags and boxes were also supplied so that each piece of jewellery was ready for giving. Continue reading “Mother’s Day Outreach by SSVP Brant Thrift Store”

FINALLY – The opening of our new Thrift Store!

 

October 1, 2018, Brantford, ON.

It is a feeling of excitement, moving into a new home.

That’s the feeling shared by Pat Lenz, President of The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Brant, her executive and the many Vincentian volunteers who work in their Thrift Store. “This move has been at least three years in the making since we decided to sell our store on Colborne Street and purchase the former Crosby Cable YMCA building at 143 Wellington Street, (at Clarence), ” said Ms. Lenz.

Continue reading “FINALLY – The opening of our new Thrift Store!”

Moving day is fast approaching!

August 27, 2018, Brantford, ON

It is the right thing at the right time for the right reasons.

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Brant (SSVP Brant) has never been more excited about having a Sale. Everything on the first floor is on sale for 50% off. However, this is no ordinary sale. This is a moving sale. Continue reading “Moving day is fast approaching!”

Congratulations, Meghan!

Continue reading “Congratulations, Meghan!”

A Bed for Every Child

The Bed for Every Child project was conceived to help alleviate some of the ill effects of poverty on children in the Brant/Brantford community. The goal is to provide a new bed to a child in an underprivileged home who would otherwise not have a bed in which to sleep. These children are currently sleeping on the floor or carpet or couch or are sharing a bed with parents and/or several siblings. The living conditions in these homes are personally witnessed by SSVP Brant home visitors, who engage in home visits to determine the extent of the need within these families.

Each conference (our Society’s groups) decides which family(ies) has(have) a child in need of a bed.  Then, two members of a conference make a home visit and complete a Demographic Sheet for this family as well as a voucher for a new single bed when they feel it is appropriate.  The completed Demographic Sheet is returned to the Particular Council President, who turns it in to the bed allocation coordinator. The completed bed voucher is left with the client who will redeem it at the store and arrange for delivery of the bed. For purposes of accountability, and in order to ensure that we are good stewards, the bed allocation coordinator keeps track of the money we are given for beds to ensure that it is spent on beds for children.  The bed allocation coordinator also maintains a data base of those who receive a bed.

The need was first recognized 4 years ago, and various groups (mainly 1 local high school) have engaged in various fund-raising activities including pilgrimage walks, all-night sleep-overs, school dress-down days etc. that allowed the program to be established and sustained. The approximate cost per bed is $100. To date, over 280 beds have been given to these very under-privileged children. The provision of beds to these children has made a profound difference in the lives of the children as well as their families, which is of course part of our mission as Vincentians.

“Savings For Success” RESP Project: the Canada Learning Bond

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul’s Savings for Success project aims to empower eligible families to plan for post-secondary education for their children.

Our objectives are:

  • to educate families regarding the Canada Learning Bond (up to $2,000 in funding per child for post-secondary education)
  • to provide families with information about setting up a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for their children so as to access these funds; and
  • to make a $50 contribution to each newly opened RESP (in Brantford/Brant County) that is eligible to receive the Canada Learning Bond.

To be eligible to receive the Canada Learning Bond children must have been born after Dec. 31, 2003 and the family’s net income, excluding the universal child care benefit, must be less than or equal to $45,916.  (For families with more than three children there are higher income brackets.)

Parents are able to open no-fee RESPs and no parental contribution is required to obtain the Canada Learning Bond.  These education savings funds do not affect any Social Assistance Benefits being received by the family.

We believe that education is a key factor in helping young people create a brighter future for themselves.  The existence of education savings is a strong motivator for pursuing post-secondary education.   Canada Learning Bond funds can be used for university, college, trade schools or apprenticeship programs and students can attend on a part-time or full-time basis.

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Brant appreciates the financial support received from the Brant Community Foundation and the Retired Teachers of Ontario District 40 to assist us in initiating this project.

To date, we have assisted the families of 25 children to obtain Canada Learning Bond funds.  We know that there are many more eligible children in our area. For further information, please leave your name and phone number on voice mail at 519-753-8439 ext. 400 or email  infosavingsforsuccess@gmail.com

Steve Rigby Food Drive

On Saturday, April 8, 2017 over 10,000 pounds of food was collected to be distributed to the neighbours in need served by the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul as well as Why Not Missions in Brantford. A very generous donation of Kinder Eggs and chocolate valued at over $10,000 retail was received from Ferrero. Various other companies and businesses provided large collections of food and cash leading up to the Steve Rigby Memorial Food Drive day.

Steve Rigby and his wife Clare, owners of Freshco on Clarence Street, Brantford have run a food drive with the help of Brantford Police Constable Scott Gibson, High School Resource Officer with the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board for the past two years. Tragically, Steve Rigby died suddenly and unexpectedly two weeks ago however; his wife Clare, although understandably grieving his loss, insisted that the event carry on in her husband’s name because she knew that is what Steve would have wanted.

Officer Gibson was pleased and grateful, “I know that this event was near and dear to Steve and that is why I am so grateful to his wife Clare, her staff, and the Vincentian and student volunteers for working so hard. I want to thank all of the people who purchased a bag of groceries, donated cash and food, and the businesses that supported the event especially Ferrero.”

Peter Giordano, Vice President (Youth) and Kristine Paul, Volunteer Coordinator with the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul expressed their mutual satisfaction, “We know that the neighbours in need that we serve will be very grateful for the food they receive.”

Officer Gibson with a crew of fellow Brantford Police officers, Vincentian volunteers and a number of students from St. John’s College Leadership class were there to help with the heavy lifting of water donated by Officer Gibson. They also loaded over 100 bags of groceries prepared by Freshco that were purchased by generous customers and other food donations from Freshco customers into the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul delivery cube van. As well, several people walking and driving by made cash donations. Two very generous, anonymous donors gave $500 and $100, respectively.

Inspired by this year’s event, Clare Rigby and Scott Gibson look forward to staging the Steve Rigby Memorial Food Drive again next year.