Jesse Willms: Providing Valentine’s Day Dinner To Bissell Centre

Posted by Jesse Willms on February 15, 2011

Treat Bags- Bissell CentreHappy Valentine’s Day! I hope you all had a nice time. I was happy to hear how well the Valentines Dinner went at the Bissell Centre and am proud to be a sponsor. Many of you know that I have been a longtime supporter of Bissell Centre, but for those of you who are new to my blog let me give you some background.

Bissell Centre was founded 100 years ago in Edmonton on the premise that neighbors should help neighbors. At first, the Bissell Centre worked with members of the Ukrainian immigrant community. Today, it provides services for any Edmonton resident facing unemployment, homelessness or poverty.

The organization works to find shelter for homeless people. Bissell Centre also provides a place where they can shower, do their laundry, have access to a clean toilet and read books or watch movies. Bissell Centre’s newest program helps the chronically homeless not only find a home but find a community. As participants are placed in homes the barriers in their life are addressed over a minimum of one year in order to provide stability and permanent housing.

Last night we provided dinner and gifts for 32 adults and 48 children. The children were fed pizza and got a loot bag filled with candy and teddy bears in the daycare center. Meanwhile, the adults were treated to a more romantic meal in the main room.

One couple with four children told us that they never get the chance to go on a date, so this was a nice treat for them. Other participants at Bissell were glad that the event was held, because anytime they went anywhere else – even if it was just to get a latte- often they receive poor service. That’s very sad and I hope that in the future we find ways to move forward and treat everyone equally.

The Bissell Centre held the dinner because they want these people to feel like they are members of the community. They were fed a lasagna dinner and given gift bags. The women were given lipstick, nail polish, makeup and eyeliner so they could feel pretty on Valentine’s Day. They also got chocolate!

Overall it was a huge success. Remember, romance doesn’t know if you are rich or poor and everyone in the community deserves to feel loved on Valentine’s Day.