As directed by the provincial announcement on April 7, 2021, SSVP Brant Thrift Store, 143 Wellington St., Brantford, is closed effective immediately. This applies to all facets of our operation – shopping, accepting donations, pick up and delivery etc.
The only exceptions will be emergency food assistance to those who reach out to us provided by our conference members – as that is allowed under the provision “providing service to the vulnerable”.
To those we serve in Brantford/Brant: if you require emergency food assistance during this period, call the phone number for our branch (conference) that covers your area – to hear how they are adapting their service for you …
– Blessed Sacrament (Burford, Scotland, West Brantford) 519-865-1562
– Sacred Heart (Paris & St. George) 519-442-2465
– St. Basil (Central Brantford) 519-752-0243
– St. Mary (East & South Brantford) 226-208-6846
– St. Pius X (North Brantford) 519-753-9052
Furniture Donations Now Accepted
We are (finally) ready to resume acceptance of your generous donations of furniture.
Our priority continues to be furniture essential to the lifestyles of those we serve. That would include something to sit on, sleep on, eat at – of modest sizes as so many of us now live in smaller spaces. Out of respect for all of our customers we require that the items be clean and in good shape.
Because of pandemic restrictions, we must handle all donations carefully, for the safety and comfort of all of our customers and volunteers. One major precaution is that all donations are quarantined for a period of time when they are received before they are processed by our volunteers. For this reason the following restrictions are in place:
- Drop off of furniture items can be arranged by appointment.
- Pick up of items (usually on a Saturday, from a sheltered outdoor location only) can be arranged.
Email email@example.com, ideally attaching picture(s) of item(s) on offer, or call 519-751-0143 to make arrangements.
Thanks to all of our generous donors for your patience and for your ongoing support of our service to those in need in Brantford and Brant County.
The Energy of Our Young(est) Volunteers
All of the volunteers at SSVP Brant Thrift Store are young at heart, regardless of their chronological age. However this summer, additional lively young volunteers arrived to assist our usual crew.
At the pre-sorting table, Quin (Gr. 9 at Assumption College) has been assisting Grandma Rita with her tasks.
In new volunteer roles necessitated by the pandemic, Ally (Gr. 12 at North Park Collegiate) and Kylie (Gr. 12 at Assumption College) have been greeting customers, explaining our hygiene and physical distancing precautions as well as disinfecting shopping carts.
When Julian (Gr. 9 at St. John’s College) has arrived each Wednesday with his grandfather, volunteer Edwin, he has jumped into whatever task awaits, especially lots of sorting: food donations, hangers, clothing and lots of other stuff.
When Charlie (Gr. 10 at Assumption College) has come along with grandmother Elaine, he has proven to be a “doer”, both receiving donations and pre-sorting them under the direction of volunteer Theresa.
Volunteer Wies’ granddaughter Sophie (from Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School in Orillia) shared her years of experience with SSVP Brant as she returned for a working visit at the sorting table.
With much appreciation for this sharing of their energy and enthusiasm we wish our young volunteers well as they return to whichever version of school they have chosen. And we are excited to know that some of them will be returning to help periodically in the next months as their schedules permit.
Volunteer experience (40 hours total) is currently required as part of the graduation requirements for high school students in Ontario. Also, the commitment, work ethic and community spirit demonstrated by such activity is recognized positively when students apply for post-secondary scholarships or bursaries.
Any high school student wishing to volunteer during the school year is very welcome to join our team at SSVP Brant Thrift Store. To explore this possibility contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thrift Store Update August 25, 2020
Our current hours of opening for shopping continue to be Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10 am to 2:30 pm.
We continue to accept donations on Wednesdays between 9 am and 12 noon.
In order to achieve safe physical distancing in our Store for our customers and our volunteers, we continue to limit the number of customers in the retail space.
Thanks to all for your patience, understanding and cooperation as our 100% volunteer staff continues to serve the community.Part of this process involves restricting entrance to one person per family group and to people over the age of 15.
The Priest with the Vincentian Heart
As a student at Cathedral High School in the late 1980s, Peter Ciallella was a Vincentian. In 2017, as Father Peter, he was sent to serve at Blessed Sacrament parish in Burford (and St. Anthony Daniel, Scotland).
Two activities that he undertook immediately have come together in this time of pandemic. Father Peter’s Vincentian heart lead him to embrace his role as Spiritual Advisor to Blessed Sacrament conference. His experience of service in Latin America lead him to begin a ministry to the migrant workers who come each year to work in this agricultural area. “… on one Sunday a month from about April to October, Blessed Sacrament offers the workers English lessons and access to WiFi sometimes not available at the farms. Fluent in Spanish, Ciallella delivers a service in the workers’ native language, followed by a meal prepared by church volunteers. As many as 100 workers show up.” (Brantford Expositor June 10, 2020)
Faced with a Covid-19 outbreak at a large farm operation in a neighbouring county, Father Peter publicly addressed community reaction to workers being quarantined in Brant hotels: “I know their intention was not to assign blame on the migrant farm workers, but rather to point out the bureaucratic flaws in poor planning and communication,’ Ciallella said in a letter to The Expositor. “Unfortunately, this can escalate the tension and fears and lead to a certain amount of backlash and xenophobia, which has been evident.” (Brantford Expositor June 10, 2020)
Instead Father was approached by President Mary Risi and past-President Doreen Fader of Blessed Sacrament conference seeking a positive response to the situation. With the support of parishioners and conference members from across the Brant deanery, more than 200 gift bags were provided to workers as they finished their quarantine.
Sadly, Mexican worker, Juan Lopez Chaparro, succumbed to the virus in June. With the local health officer, Father Peter visited the bunkhouses of Juan’s colleagues to personally deliver the tragic news. “We addressed their concerns and offered prayers for their companion,” said Ciallella. “It took us over two hours. It was quite an emotional and moving experience.” (Simcoe Reformer, June 21, 2020)
During a memorial Mass, Father shared words from Juan’s wife. “Remember my husband, the man that he was — a good man, a kind-hearted man, a man of peace.” (Catholic Register July 4, 2020) Because many coworkers were unable to attend due to pandemic restrictions, Facebook livestream was arranged with an eventual upload to YouTube.
Father Peter also established a GoFundMe campaign for Juan’s family. He continues his advocacy for the workers: “Workers have been afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs or being sent back to Mexico,” said Ciallella. “This could be a turning point.” (Brantford Expositor, June 25, 2020)
Then word came about a second farm operation with a small group of workers. Because of their isolation they have been unable to shop. Through contact with local Vincentian Wies Stys, Father Peter arranged for work clothing to be provided to these men from the SSVP Brant Thrift Store. Also at the Store is a quantity of non-perishable food awaiting resumption of full SSVP food bank service to those in need locally. Store volunteers have prepared and dispatched boxes of items deemed suitable for the workers’ diet.
This priest with the Vincentian heart truly exemplifies the Vincentian value to “help in all possible ways”.