Every year, Flavie-Laurent Centre (FLC) on Provencher Blvd in Saint-Boniface takes in over 7000 donations of clothing, furniture and housewares. These, in turn, are distributed to thousands in Manitoba who can use a helping hand to fully meet their family’s needs.
Every week, over 300 families are given access to the store and supplied with the products that they need most. All items, from mattresses to work shirts to hockey skates, are given free of charge.
Since 2005, more than 22,000 clients have registered with the store and been given help with the basic necessities of life.
Executive director Gilbert Vielfaure is proud of the work his organization does. He says, not only does it provide a practical outlet for items that might have otherwise ended up in a local waste container but it ensures that products and clothing that still have a useful shelf life will find a new home.
“It’s a win-win situation,” explains volunteer coordinator Denise Dupuis. “Families in need get items that are still in good condition and can serve a useful purpose while donors have an outlet that makes it possible for them to give generously. Everybody wins, including the environment.”
Lise Hamelin has been donating her time at Flavie-Laurent for over fifteen years. She’s part of a 50-person team of volunteers that check, clean, sort and display items as they come in.
“I find it rewarding to help out,” says Lise, “knowing that all of these items will find their way where they’re most needed. The whole team of volunteers is like a second family to me and I really enjoy being around them. They are all caring and compassionate people who are looking for a way to help out and we’re all happy to provide this service for the community.”
“We help numerous families that are new to Canada and have made it here with very little,” adds Sister Thérèse Vachon, a Grey nun whose religious order launched the first initiative that led to today’s Centre .
“We try to provide an essential service to families in need, refugees, and immigrants. It’s heartwarming to see the appreciation that they have for the help that is given to them. Needless to say, whatever assistance we can provide makes this community a better place to live in.”
For more information on Flavie-Laurent Centre, visit the web site at: http://cflc.biz/cflc/. Clothing or housewares that are clean and reusable can be dropped off at 450 Provencher Blvd. Furniture that is still in good condition can be picked up by FLC by calling 204-233-4936.
All photos by René Fontaine