From its beginnings in the 1960s as a room in the basement of the Men’s Mission to its current 20,000 square foot retail location, the Mission Store has never wavered from meeting our neighbours’ needs while acting as a hub for the community.
The Mission Store has received notable recognition over the last several years. In 2020, the store was a finalist in the Corporate Social Responsibility category of the London Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Awards. In 2018 and 2019 the Mission Store received the Angel Award from ATN Access Inc. This award is “reserved for an employer that is ‘exceptional’” and recognizes businesses who focus on integrating qualified individuals into the workforce.
Yet for me, the Mission Store’s most compelling and fulfilling services are the Emergency Voucher Program and Warm Hands – Warm Hearts Outreach Program (WHWH).
When I joined Mission Services of London in 2010, WHWH delivered cold weather clothing items directly to 20 elementary schools in London. We could connect more with administration and staff, but our reach was limited. Now, we make deliveries to a central warehouse and provided clothing to students at 61 elementary schools in our last pre-pandemic year (2018-2019).
Even with recent disruptions, over 30 schools requested clothing from WHWH in each of the last two years, showing the importance of the program to our community.
Our Emergency Voucher program has evolved over the years yet remains deeply rooted in the community. With 60+ referring community partners, the Mission Store was able to provide essential items to over 1,800 unique individuals last year alone despite the pandemic.
We received this lovely testimonial from an individual who accessed the voucher program last month. Her comments are much more eloquent than mine.
“Dear Manager, I had the opportunity and pleasure of visiting your store last Friday. May I commend you on your staff, in particular Susan. I had a voucher for a couch and some clothing. She was so helpful, friendly and kind. Some places don’t treat customers with vouchers too pleasantly. But they did! Not once, did I feel like I was a ‘charity case’. Thank you so much to all & especially Susan. Bless you all! Thanks, ‘Angela*’ “
The Mission Store – our community hub. Loving God, loving neighbours.
* Name has been changed to protect privacy.
Written by Peter Rozeluk, Executive Director