Visitors to Strathmore’s Tina’s No Frills have opened their hearts and their wallets this summer to help support a worthy cause. On September 13, the store donated $5,000 to the Strathmore Overnight Shelter. The funds were from a three-week long campaign where staff at the tills asked patrons to donate $2 towards a charity.
“Tina (Shipley) has been with us since the beginning, so two years now,” said Richard Rodgers, director of outreach with the Strathmore Overnight Shelter. “I came and approached her and gave her our plan for the future and she jumped on board, no questions asked. She is a very giving person, she gives to all of the community, not just us,” he said.
Shipley explained that the campaign was her way for paying it forward.
“Every year all of the owners of No Frills stores get to choose their favourite charity and we sell icons at the tills, every customer is to be asked and I chose the Strathmore Overnight Shelter because I think it’s probably one of the most deserving and well needed aspects of our community right now,” she said.
People could donate any amount they wanted at the till.
“$2 is what we ask for, but we’ve had people donate $50, we’ve had people just donate the rest of their change to round it up…it all ads up,” she said.
The campaign and the ability to give back to the community is very personal for Shipley.
“I feel good about helping people I really do. I like to help people, especially people that are in need,” she said.
“I worked really hard for everything I had and I remember what it was like to have to pick between paying the rent and buying groceries,” she said. “I want to be able to give back to the community as much as possible and I think this is just a really good charity that unfortunately we need, so I will stand behind it as much as I possibly can,” said Shipley.
In terms of how the donation will help the shelter, the donation helps to pay some bills and get closer to opening.
“I’m feeling very excited actually,” said Lawrence Carriere, with outreach with the Strathmore Overnight Shelter. “Richard (Rodgers) told me a little while ago that they were doing this, but I was very excited when I found out that it was $5,000.”
“It is a very significant number,” he said. The funds will now help the shelter to complete a few finishing touches this fall before their grand opening.
“I know that there’s still some things that still need to be done. I don’t know if it necessarily needs skilled labourers, but it might and there are a few costs that haven’t been covered that need to be covered, so yes this is going to help us wrap it up, get launched and get open,” said Carriere.
Presently the shelter is searching for labourers and framers to finish off a few renovations in the upstairs of the shelter. Crews will be working on framing walls and finishing washrooms.
“We’re going to need skilled framers and just people that are willing to help out,” said Carriere.
Organizers are hoping the shelter could be open by late October.
By Monique Massiah, Strathmore Standard