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Keeping the doors open, the lights on

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From left: Burrows Resource Centre volunteer Katerina Magsino, chair Jessica Isidro, and volunteers Tia Truong and Karen Magsino.

PHOTO BY MATT PREPROST Enlarge Image

From left: Burrows Resource Centre volunteer Katerina Magsino, chair Jessica Isidro, and volunteers Tia Truong and Karen Magsino. Photo Store

The Burrows Resource Centre is facing a possible closure unless it can raise the thousands of dollars needed to pay off its mounting electricity bill.

On Sat., Aug. 10, the North End community group hosted the Burrows Community Urban Market at its College Avenue location, raising $1,500 to help pay off an outstanding Manitoba Hydro bill.

"We need to pay this bill off or we won’t be able to keep the doors open," said Jessica Isidro, chair of the Burrows Central Residents Council, which runs the centre.

About 300 people turned out to the market, which featured a range of artisan crafters, along with a range of clothing, housewares, books, toys, and food for sale.

The centre, a former satellite location of the Sinclair Park Community Centre, serves the Burrows Central neighbourhood, bounded by Mountain and Selkirk avenues to the north and south, and McPhillips and Arlington streets to the east and west.

The centre is run entirely by volunteers, from the four-member council to the handful of volunteers who help with events and programming at the centre.

It costs about $18,000 to run the centre each year. That money, generated mostly through fundraising and donations, is enough to pay for utilities, upkeep and repairs, Isidro said.
Isidro said the centre still needs about $1,000 to pay off its Hydro debt. It also has other outstanding utility bills, including some to the city and BFI, to pay off as well.

The centre has a high electricity bill because of an old furnace system and old windows, both of which the centre will need to replace soon, Isidro said.

Isidro says the centre is looking at launching a more consistent after-school drop-in program for youth in the fall, where kids can come to have a snack, do homework and hang out with friends.

The centre is also looking to hook up a dozen computers for its community computer lab, and start a series of job search and resume building workshops, she added.

"We can’t really have those programs if we don’t have a building to run them out of," Isidro said.

"The kids would be quite upset. A lot would scrounge up change to help pay for it."

The centre is already starting to organize a benefit concert for November, featuring local a capella group Those Guys.

For more, visit <a href="http://burrowscentral.ca">http://burrowscentral.ca</a> or email burrowsresource@gmail.com.

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