In excess of 1,000 black plastic bags full of clothes eventually found their way to St. Mary’s Parish Hall, which was transformed into a giant clothing warehouse with table a;er table a;er table piled high with give-away clothes and many more bags stored waist deep in a moving “pod” outside the building.
In the midst of all this chaos, the organizers and volunteers made it a party with prayer, chit chat, laughter and of course food. As the volunteers work shoulder-to-shoulder, they make new friends. On the appointed Friday and Saturday the store doors opened, and the guests were welcomed to shop for their needs, with no restrictions as to what or how much.
What happened on the first shopping day cannot be adequately described. You really had to be there to experience the electricity, magnitude and importance of this project. The guests were overwhelmed by what they saw and very grateful and so appreciative. Many were overcome by tears. The children could not contain their excitement and what a joy to hear and watch as the children dove into the big pile of toys. (Yes, there were donations of toys as well but you can guess that these were scooped up very quickly.)
And as well, the organizing committee could not believe the volume of donations, the numbers of willing volunteers, and also the number of shoppers. These represented countries from all over the world with interesting stories of how they came to be in Calgary … some shared about their struggles, especially with the English language. Many wanted to communicate and express their heart- felt gratitude and joy and it clearly showed in their eyes and you could hear it in their voices. Many of the guests repeated again and again how good Canada was to them. Several of the volunteers were new to Canada as well and their reason for volunteering was to give something back. It was indeed humbling to witness.
No doubt about it……..Project “Pass it On” was an overwhelming success!
A special thank you to goes to Theresa Lewchuk, Marilyn Comchi, Sheryl Ewanchyna and many, many others who stepped up to the plate to make a difference in the community beyond St. Stephen’s Parish.