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Colchester Community Workshops calling for donations


TRURO – Donations to the Colchester Community Workshops are the lowest they have been in years.

Susan McCallum, the Truro workshops’ operations manager, told the Truro Daily News shelves are getting bare at the workshops’ new-to-you store. Proceeds from the store, which sells items donated by the community including clothing, books and yard sale items, typically cover about 70 per cent of the workshops’ operating expenses.

McCallum said the Department of Community Services contributes one-third of the workshops’ annual budget. The organization’s yearly expenses are estimated to be $200,000. It also recently had to spend $10,000 for boiler system repairs and a lack of donations for the new-to-you store really impacts the workshops, said McCallum.

“We started to see a decline in donations in December. We usually get 200 bags of clothing a day; lately we are getting about 25 to 50. This is the biggest decline since we moved to this building in 2005,” said McCallum. “The shelves are getting low and we are getting comments. I recognize everybody is experiencing a financial pinch. We don’t want to be alarmists but we are appealing to the public because this is our largest form of revenue.”

McCallum said the centre is not looking at cutting any jobs but a lack of community donations affects the 72 clients in many ways.

“Our clients want to work and they have learned a tremendous amount of life skills, which help make them job-ready,” she said. 

Truro Height’s Virginia Haight is a client at the workshops who works in the new-to-you shop. She said it’s important donations continue to pour in.

“If we get a lot it keeps us busy. If not, it’s slow (and) we need the money for things,” like workshop outings, said Haight.

McCallum said any items that are in good shape are wanted.

“Don’t assume it’s not worth anything … if we don’t think we can sell it, we have an arrangement with an Ontario company that sends them to a Third World country and we get revenue from it,” said McCallum.

The workshops also recycle items, such as scrap, metal and even Christmas lights.

“We are very grateful for any donations,” said McCallum. “Whatever we have asked for in the past the community has always supported us.”

People can drop off donations to the workshops at 168 Arthur St. in Truro from Monday to Saturday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Donations should be taken to the back of the building and clients will help unload them.

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