With cuts to funds from their community gaming grant, there wasn’t enough room in the budget to keep the donation room running, says Lisa Schmidt, director of counselling and support programs at Ksan Society. The donation room is set to close April 18. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Terrace’s “free store” for people in need forced to shut down April 18

Donation room short $15,000 from gaming grant, Ksan Society says

Evaporating funds have led to the Ksan Society’s decision to close their donation room on Lazelle Ave. effective April 18.

This program offered a variety of clothing and household items, including toys, kitchenware, bedding and towels, for everyone to access three days a week for free.

Like many of the non-profit’s programming, the donation room was funded through various sources, specifically the community gaming grant.

The community gaming grant fund the Ksan Place’s programs and the donation room. Ksan Society’s furniture shed was able to remain open because the staff who allow access to the shed are funded by Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

In previous years, the Ksan Society had received $100,000 from gaming, though this year they received $83,500.

When Ksan Society did not receive the total funding they applied for, the donation room program had to be cut. Lisa Schmidt, director of counselling and support programs at Ksan Society, says they’ve had to lay off two donation room staff members as a result.

“There’s a whole lot of sadness experienced by everyone in the society,” says Schmidt.

READ MORE: Terrace homeless count nears 100

She estimates the society will need to find at least $15,000 to reopen the donation room.

“I’m not proud to have to close our program, so we’re going to work as hard as we can to find more funding sources, and possibly open with volunteers if we have to.”

The program is well-used in Terrace. Schmidt says the donation room is accessed by 315 people a month — 3,700 people per year — and has been a valuable resource for families fleeing the wildfires last year, the Syrian refugee families moving into Terrace, and people seeking shelter from abusive relationships. But it’s also accessible to anyone in need.

“We’ve had several times where someone has come to the door with no shoes on. We’re very happy to bring them down here and get them what they need, especially in the winter,” Schmidt says.

The Ksan Society will be no longer accepting donations for the donation room, but the room will be open for the public to shop until it closes April 18. Then donations will be available for clients from the society’s three shelters only, as there will be no staff available to keep the doors open to the public.

“Folks in our community, they’re going to have to start paying for [basic essentials] now. Even if it’s at a low price at any of the other second-hand stores or thrift shops, it still means paying for something that they really have no money for. So often people are so stretched with the cost of rent, food and transportation, it’s really expensive.”

Schmidt says she will be collecting feedback and reaction from the community on social media or in person about the donation room’s closure so the society can go back to the province with these comments when applying for grants next year.

On the counter by the window to the front desk of the room where the donations are sorted, a staff member has put out a basket inviting people to write down their reactions.

“Then we can show the impact it does have in our community,” she says.

READ MORE: Volunteers step up to the grill to help the Ksan Society

Though the room will be closed, the organization will still be accepting furniture for their furniture shed program, specific donations to other programs, monetary donations, toiletries and other speciality items for their shelters.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

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This program offered a variety of clothing and household items, including toys, kitchenware, bedding and towels, for everyone to access three days a week for free. (Brittany Gervais photo)

(Brittany Gervais photo)

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