Bursting at the seams: St. Boniface charity in need of bigger space to store donated items
WINNIPEG -- Tables, sofas and chairs are stacked to the rafters at the Flavie Laurent Centre.
The charity, located in St. Boniface, gives household supplies to thousands of vulnerable Manitobans each year.
But it seems it's becoming a victim of its success: The organization is now bursting at the seams with donated items and has run out of room to store what’s most needed.
"We have a lot of stuff here," said Gilbert Vielfaure, the centre's executive director.
"It's almost overwhelming. We gave away 2,500 sofas last year. But it's needed."
What's needed now, is a bigger space.
The Flavie Laurent Centre is trying to raise $250,000 so it can move into a bigger building. If they can raise this amount, the Catholic Health Corporation of Manitoba will match the donation.
"For us that's immense," said Vielfaure.
"We are a relatively small organization, doing impacting work. We just need a bigger pot to put more water into it."
Theo Gene Buhelwa knows first-hand how much of an impact the centre has on people. He's from the Democratic Republic of Congo and came to Winnipeg in 2013 as a refugee. His family arrived with few possessions.
"We didn't have anything," said Buhelwa.
"So to start our life, we came to the centre and were surprised by all that we found here."
Buhelwa’s family was able to get winter coats, boots, and furniture for their home.
"Even toys for the kids," said Buhelwa.
Now Buhelwa is working at the centre. He said he wanted to help other people in the same way he was helped and hopes other Winnipeggers will help the centre to fulfill its mission.
"We don't have enough room to help those people," said Buhelwa.
"We have many donations, we have many clients, but we don't have enough room."
The total cost of the new building is expected to be $1.2 million dollars.
It says raising the $500,000 from donors and the Catholic Health Corporation will get the ball rolling.
For more information on Flavie Laurent Centre's fundraising campaign, visit its website.