Elisha’s Story: A Mission Store Champion

Elisha Mugabo left Kenya and arrived in London, Ontario with his parents and seven siblings on July 9, 2019. Entering Canada through a refugee settlement program, Elisha and his family left behind their home, belongings, and a familiar way of life.

As part of their transition into making Canada feel like home, Elisha and his family needed basic supplies. Through the support of a settlement program, Elisha and his family were referred to the Mission Store’s Emergency Voucher program.

Elisha recalls going to the Mission Store with his family and receiving a list with some of the items his family may need to start their new life in Canada. “The paper had a list and said something like ‘x8 spoons, x5 t-shirts, x1 footwear,’ everything we needed,” Elisha remembers.

Elisha Mugabo

“After we got the list, we went through the store and picked out the t-shirts we wanted or the winter jackets we wanted right off the rack, just like as if we were shopping. Once we had all the items on the list, we took it back to the same woman to double check we had everything. Then, we would leave. It was all free.”

The Mugabo family went back to the Emergency Voucher Program a few times during their settlement process. “We arrived in the summer, so we would go back to get what we needed for the upcoming season,” Elisha shares.

Two years later in 2021, Elisha was working at a factory in St. Thomas. Ready to move on to the next chapter of his professional life, Elisha sought out work through an employment agency. The agency found the Mission Store and suggested Elisha apply to volunteer.

Elisha volunteered at the Mission Store for eight months. “I recall the first day coming through the door and meeting a smiling face, ready to take me through the introduction. That instantly killed any anxiety I had at the time,” Elisha said.

“I must say I felt welcome from day one and was super happy. What stands out to me from back then, and I still experience to this day was that everyone was always willing to jump in and help. Everyone wanted, and still wants to teach me how things are done. They don’t mind teaching things again and again until the skill is registered. I had a few incidents while at the cash register, but received so much support and understanding from my team leaders. The reassurance that mistakes can be corrected made me feel more confident. Hearing the experiences of other volunteers and workers at the Mission Store encouraged me continue and serve more.” -Elisha

After eight months, a position for hire opened up. Elisha applied and was successful. Today, Elisha works in various roles throughout the Mission Store. He is a versatile, skilled employee, working at the cash register, on the floor, at the fitting rooms, and doing “white-tag” (merchandising and planning events for the Mission Store’s boutique items).

“Elisha has been a great addition to our Mission Store family. He’s hard-working and always brings positivity into every shift. He’s loved by his coworkers and uplifts the energy of the team.” – Lorraine Chwiecko, Store Manager


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