Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Our Place Chez Nous Drop-In Centre Inc.

Spirit of Giving

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What they do:

OUR Place Chez Nous Drop-In Centre arose in 1987 when Sister Jane McDonald saw a need for people on Winnipeg's skid row, Main Street, to have a safe, restful place.

McDonald died in 2003 of breast and lung cancer, but her legacy lives on.

"A lot of people come here because they've got no place to go, because they've been barred from places," said Jackie Gushuliak, a volunteer treasurer at Our Place Chez Nous Drop-In Centre, which provides year-round supports to the homeless. The centre's main rule is that clients must be sober when they visit.

Located at 676 Main St., near Higgins Avenue and across from Thunderbird House, the centre gives Winnipeggers a warm place where they can have coffee and snacks, get toiletries, visit friends and chat. On Tuesday mornings, the centre gives people a chance to shower, shave, and slip on new socks and undies.

Hopes for the holidays:

"It's a very, very difficult time for people at Christmas because a lot have been abandoned by their families," Gushuliak said. Last Sunday, the centre held its annual Christmas dinner. Santa Claus stopped by for photos and to hand out gift bags of mitts, hats, scarves and toiletries, plus $10 Giant Tiger gift certificates.

Throughout the holidays, the drop-in will keep its regular hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

How you can help:

The centre is fully operated by volunteers and welcomes anyone wanting to lend a hand.

Most donations come from Winnipeg Catholic churches, but anyone can make arrangements to donate cash, household goods, coffee, tea, toiletries, household goods and clothing by calling (204) 956-1359.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 23, 2010 B2

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