P.E.I.'s one-woman free food and clothing store needs a new home
If you're inspired to do some spring cleaning, there are lots of P.E.I. non-profits willing to take your stuff, with the proceeds going to lots of good causes.
Here are a few places to consider as you declutter this spring.
1. First Impressions
First Impressions is a used clothing shop in Charlottetown, with a difference. You can shop there, everything's $5, but they also provide clothing free of charge for women in need.
"The idea is to help any woman who needs help, with dress clothes or business casual, to help with their self-esteem, to maybe go for a job interview, go back to school, anyone who is leaving a domestic situation and has nothing," said Karrie Macdougall.
"If you come to us, we will help out any way we can."
The store was created by Macdougall, inspired by her late friend Susan Coyle Warren. She was legal aid lawyer who Macdougall says was always helping women in need. After cleaning out Warren's closet, Macdougall looked for a place that would accept donations to help women in need and couldn't find one.
First Impressions opened in the fall of 2015, and Macdougall estimates the store provided clothing to about 50 clients last year.
"It's very rewarding just to see the faces, we hear a lot of comments like 'I finally feel like a woman,'" said Macdougall.
"They come up with their head down and they leave with their head up."
There are regular store hours for people to drop off donations and shop, and 100 per cent of the proceeds go back into supporting the clients. Clothes they can't use are donated to local schools and nursing homes.
The store is located at 180 Brackley Point Road in Charlottetown and is open Monday to Thursday from 6-8 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 2 p.m.
2. Care Fair 2017
The Care Fair is back for 2017, and organizer Betty Begg is looking for donations.
The retired nurse held the first event last year, where low-income Islanders and seniors could go shopping — and everything was free.
"They felt loved and they felt blessed and it was a great day for everybody," Begg said after the event.
Now she's collecting again for the 2017 Care Fair.
"I will take anything anyone can use as there is such a great need for everything including food, clothing, toys, furniture, bedding, books," she said.
The Care Fair is more than a one day event for Begg.
"I've been running these out of my home 365 days a year where anyone can make contact with me and I fill orders for clothing, food, whatever the need with no questions asked and no money exchanged," she explained.
She also has two large free yard sales at her house for people that missed the Care Fair.
"So it is a 24/7 365 days a year job with no funding," she said.
This year, Begg is hoping to collect 500 pairs of runners and shoes for the fair. She washes all of them herself.
The Care Fair will again be held at the Farm Centre on University Avenue in Charlottetown, running from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 20.
Begg can be reached by email at email@example.com or message her on the Care Fair Facebook page.
3. Gigantic Yard Sale - Mikinduri Children of Hope
This is the tenth year for the Gigantic Yard Sale, one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Mikinduri Children of Hope , a P.E.I.-based group that does projects to relieve poverty in Kenya.
"It represents a major piece of our fundraising," said Ted Grant, of the Mikinduri Children of Hope.
"We have to raise $125,000 a year just to continue our existing work and this year we have to raise an additional $100,000 because we're expanding our work into Western Kenya."
The group has made it easy for Islanders to donate used items with a drop bin at Superior Sanitation in Charlottetown. They're looking for gently used household items, including furniture, books, CDs, toys, small appliances, clothing, cloth materials, dishes, tools, sports equipment and electronics.
However, they do not accept baby furniture, TVs, encyclopedias, tires, building supplies, damaged or broken items.
The group even has a pick-up service for bigger items.
"We have a team of guys that will go around and pick up larger things like sometimes somebody will say well my mom just died and I'm cleaning out her apartment and I have a dresser, a chesterfield and a bed," explained Grant.
About 90 volunteers pitch in on the day of the sale.
This year's Gigantic Yard Sale will take place at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown on Saturday May 6.
The donation bin is located at Superior Sanitation Ltd. at 7 Superior Crescent in Charlottetown. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
4. Birchwood Cell Phone Challenge
Birchwood Intermediate School in Charlottetown is again collecting old wireless devices, including cell phones, smartphones, pagers, accessories and cell phone batteries.
Birchwood has been a national winner in the Recycle My Cell Student Challenge for the past four years and is hoping to repeat.
Donations can be dropped off at Birchwood during school hours until April 10.
5. Pinch Penny Fair
The 49th Annual Pinch Penny Fair taking place at the Confederation Centre of the Arts on Saturday, April 22.
Donations are now being accepted and can be dropped off at the Confederation Centre of the Arts' Richmond Street entrance.
For information call 902-628-6141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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