Lindsay Chung/Campbell River Mirror Campbell River and North Island Transition Society thrift store manager Sandy Heyman (left) and executive assistant Carrie Sjostrom show off the new space on 13th Avenue that will become Transitions Used Furniture and More Store. The store will open to customers Thursday

New thrift store to support transition society will open April 21

The Campbell River and North Island Transition Society is accepting gently-used furniture and home decor donations April 15 from 3-7 p.m.

Soon, there will be a new way for the community to support the Campbell River and North Island Transition Society.

On April 21, the society will open Transitions Used Furniture and More Store, a thrift store on 13th Avenue that will help raise money to support the society’s programs and services for women and children on northern Vancouver Island who are fleeing violence and abuse.

Campbell River and North Island Transition Society (CRNITS) is a registered non-profit organization that has a mandate to end family violence and violence against women and children.

CRNITS executive assistant Carrie Sjostrom says the idea of opening a thrift store came out of needing to find a new revenue stream.

“There is a gap between what we receive from our core funding agencies and our operating costs,” she said. “The gap continues to grow quite significantly each year. We will continue to fundraise and are always grateful for the support of those who fundraise on our behalf; however, the society’s board of directors and executive director realized we needed to build another source of income in order to sustain our services, so we considered a social enterprise.”

They searched for what might work best and decided a used furniture and more store fit with their philosophy of service and who they are as an organization, she said.

“We have already received amazing donations,” she said. “The folks at Berwick have been wonderful with not only donations but with help moving items. We are also receiving assistance from local groups, businesses and community members. There is a real sense of excitement as well — people love thrift stores. The generosity in our community is overwhelming; it is just staggering how wonderful people are.”

Besides supporting the CRNITS financially, the store provides an opportunity for their clients to give back by volunteering, which also helps them with their job readiness skills.

“Many of our clients want to do something to give back for the services and help they have received; they really find it invaluable to have an opportunity where they can give back to the society and to the community,” said Sjostrom.

CRNITS is also working with the Campbell River and District Association for Community Living and with the Robron Centre to find opportunities for their clients to volunteer and gain skills as well.

Among its programs and services, CRNITS operates Ann Elmore Transition House, a short-term emergency shelter for women and their children who are at risk of abuse and violence, and Rose Harbour Transitional Housing, which provides time-limited subsidized housing and specialized services for clients who are impacted by homelessness, abuse, violence and/or substance misuse in Campbell River. CRNITS also operates safe homes in remote locations and provides child and youth support services and a 24-hour telephone help line for women in crisis.

The revenue from the thrift store will help the transition society provide these programs and services.

“We have several funding agencies who support us significantly but there is still a gap which is increasing,” said Sjostrom. “We are noticing more demand for services, especially as the homeless issue reaches crisis levels. This is creating a greater demand on services provided by our organization.

“We see this as a means to provide more services to meet the growing needs.”

The CRNITS is still looking for volunteers for the store and Sjostrom says it doesn’t have to necessarily be a huge commitment, as they will tailor their volunteer schedule to meet the needs of those who want to help out.

The CRNITS will open Transitions at 830 13th Ave. today (April 15) from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. for people who would like to drop off donations of gently-used furniture and home decor.

Anyone interested in donating or volunteering can also contact Sjostrom at 250-287-7384 or send a message through the CRNITS Facebook page or website.

Transitions will open to customers April 21 at 10 a.m. The store will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“We’re very grateful for all the support we’ve received over the years,” said Sjostrom. “This is a new venture we’re excited about and we really hope it meets our expectations and more. We’re excited by the possibilities of what we can make it.”

For more information about Transitions, find Transitions Used Furniture and More Store on Facebook, email transitions@annelmorehouse.ca or call 250-914-3666.