Terrace’s “free store” will temporarily reopen following generous donations primarily gathered from a GoFundMe page.
On Nov. 13, the Ksan Society announced its donation room now has enough funding to keep the program going until April 2020.
“We certainly see the value of the donation room… but to actually have that backed up by a financial donation to start the whole thing, it just sort of reinforces our belief that this is a really important resource for community members,” says Cheryl Gray, Ksan Society’s transition house manager.
The Ksan Society’s donation room offers a variety of clothing and household items, including toys, kitchenware, bedding and towels, for anyone in need to access three days a week for free. The room had been kept running through various sources, specifically the community gaming grant.
Gray says community member Noreen Spencer started a GoFundMe page that raised approximately $3,230 towards their free store. She originally created the fundraiser this past April when news spread of the donation room potentially shutting its doors, in an attempt to keep it running.
In previous years, the Ksan Society had received $100,000 from gaming, though this year they only received $83,500.
And when the society did not receive the total funding they applied for, the two donation room staff members had to be laid off as a result as it costs approximately $15,000 a year to keep them both employed.
She says people dealing with all types of situations depended on their services so they remained optimistic and decided to not take anything out of the room.
“We’ve had Syrian refugees come in before and stock their homes with supplies, clothes and things like that, so I think it’s not only for people who are already on a very limited income and can make use of the service… people have told us they’re quite grateful that we were there,” says Gray. “We did not dismantle the donation room in the expectation that we would reopen it again one day.”
But despite officially closing soon after on April 18, people continued to give money in hopes it would reopen. One person even donated $1,000 towards the cause this past summer.
“We’re so excited because we were constantly getting phone calls from community members who either didn’t realize that it wasn’t open or people that have come from out of town,” she says.
Gray adds they also received other donations besides the GoFundMe page that will be used towards their programming, especially during these upcoming winter months.
At the moment, the Ksan Society is looking to hire two temporary part-time employees before they announce an official reopening date on their Facebook page. Gray says many people have also offered to volunteer their time to run the services.
With the population expected to rise and the current housing struggle, Gray says this service will help a lot more people than before and is optimistic that residents will continue to donate.
“We don’t limit how many things people can take — if you can carry it out, you can have it,” says Gray. “Our community is quite generous in terms of donations to the store, so we don’t have any misgivings about people taking whatever it is that they need.”
The donation room is expected to hold the same hours of operation as before on each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If there are women with safety concerns, they can contact the Ksan Society directly to access the free store during different times.