Community Closet - Another Welcoming Space!

Community Closet - Another Welcoming Space!

Photo by Rita Button.

Photo by Rita Button.

By Rita Button
I’m sure you’ve been in the store. I know quite a few people who have bought some terrific clothes there. Community Closet Thrift Store in James Bay Square is a totally great non-profit where Susan Henderson, the manager, creates a welcoming feeling, that immediately invites people to browse, try on, and enjoy!

When I wandered in this morning, two women waited for access to the change rooms. Others were checking out the clothes on the racks, wondering about colour and style. I could hear the smile in a shopper’s comment: “This is perfect for you!”

One man checked out the shirts on a rack near the door. Someone has thought about the organization. Although the inventory for men is small, it is near the door, and, thus, easily accessible!
This morning, orange seemed to be the dominant colour—perfect for a warm autumn day. Orange shoes, bags and scarves highlighted navy or beige jackets, drawing attention to the possibilities of changing one’s look! Sections are easily discernible and clearly identified. In the corner, a bureau in the corner stores belts and scarves, the drawers clearly labelled. Ordinary pieces such as jeans, denim skirts, and other utility kinds of clothes are readily available. I loved the sun dress, the first thing I noticed when I entered—it would be perfect for a granddaughter—made of denim with an unusually placed zipper in the front.

Photo by Rita Button.

Photo by Rita Button.

If a little bling is required to brighten new finds, it sparkles from the showcase under the counter.
Donations stock the store. Volunteers organize the stock, in this case, under Susan Henderson, the store manager’s, direction. Susan has worked in retail; her talent in displaying the clothes to their best advantage is immediately obvious, and was something Moira Dann commented on when I talked to her a few weeks ago.

Moira Dann, the Communications Manager for the James Bay Community Project, proudly showed me the James Bay Community Project Annual Report which showed that 18% of the revenue for the Community Project originated from the Community Closet. The only funder that contributed more revenue is the Ministry of Children and Family who contributed 24%. (p. 12, Annual Report 2017/18 James Bay Community Project).

Other community groups and initiatives raise money for the Community Project--and that’s the point—creating community by offering programs to enhance the lives of all. Cool Cues, for example, helps young people between the ages of eight and eleven learn social skills in a new and safe environment. Seniors Social Connections is a two hour event in which seniors are invited to have lunch made by the Community Project’s Board Members using donated food. Sharing lunch offers time to talk, lifting the loneliness that some may be experiencing—at least for awhile. Many more programs exist; all of them connect to the idea of building a community where people care for and share with each other. Moira was enthusiastic about the work of the Project and the number of volunteers who offer their time and talent just to help others flourish.

To find a list of all the amazing programs and services available, check out the website www.jbcp.bc.ca or tweet them @jamesbaycp or check them out on facebook jamesbaycommunityproject. On the other hand, you could drop by the building at 547 Michigan Street and pick up a brochure.
I am amazed. I’m sure you will be too.

Elizabeth Canjura-Jelks Outreach Program for Seniors and Adults with Disabilities

Poem: Summers Morning Reverie