Neighbourlink rises from the ashes

File Photo
It was a bitterly cold evening Dec. 9, 2016 when Hinton Fire Rescue arrived on the scene of a fire at the Neighbourlink location on Switzer Drive.The main storage factility was destroyed.

Masha Scheele

Neighbourlink is celebrating its grand opening of a new storage facility June 7 after working to raise funds and rebuild what they had before a fire took down their old facility.

The fire tore through the Neighbourlink building and all of its contents on December 9, 2016, but what caused the fire is still unknown. Neighbourlink continued its operations, utilizing three smaller storage units on the property and the old Scout Hall building in the meantime.

“Through a lot of grants, town grants, and CIP, and all those other Alberta grants we were able to get enough, and through donations from people in town and the United Way to rebuild our area,” said Trudy Tanner, board member of Neighbourlink.

Grants received by Neighbourlink include Hinton’s Community Grant Fund, twice, which along with other donations allowed completion of a slightly larger storage facility than the previous one. The new storage facility includes a lunch room and a washroom, which wasn’t part of the previous building, according to Tanner.

“Our building is big now and we’ve got shelves from the old Home Hardware store. We can organize better now, sometimes before things would be stacked way up,” said Tanner.

Mayor Marcel Michaels will be present for the ribbon cutting for the grand opening, as well as Yellowhead MP Jim Eglinski.

“We’re excited about the open house, the grand opening,” said Tanner, adding that a lot of volunteers have put in hours to get the facility ready for use.

The grand opening falls in seniors week, and everybody is welcome to stop in. A small group of people started Neighbourlink in March of 2000 and helped it grow to the non profit organization it is today.

Tanner said that Neighbourlink supports the in-between stuff that nobody else does.

“We pick up furniture, or they can drop it off, and then people that are new to town or people that are single parents, people that want assistance can get a whole truck load of furniture and we pretty much ask for $20 for gas, that’s it,” said Tanner.

Neighbourlink also takes people to doctor’s appointments in and out of Hinton, they help with minor repairs, yard work for seniors, prepare meals for the adult day centre, and deliver food through ‘Bread for Life’, but most of their efforts go into their furniture project, said Tanner.

“The warehouse is 30 by 80, and it’s got lots of stuff in it. We tell people that instead of throwing out stuff, you can drop it off,” said Tanner, adding that inventory consists of people’s old furniture that is still usable, including furniture from hotels in the area.

“Often people get a new washer or a new fridge but the old one still sort of works. For someone who has none, it’s perfect for them.”

In the first year, Neighbourlink saw 94 requests for the whole year, but in 2019 they receive that in one month.

Neighbourlink received 1,922 requests in 2018, and 2,432 hours of volunteer work was documented in order to offer those services. Tanner says the new building will make offering these services a lot smoother and easier as everything will be contained in one area.

“We’re getting more and more trips to Edmonton and more trips around town,” said Tanner.

If you have any questions for Neighbourlink, want to volunteer, or would like to drop off any furniture call 780-865-0389.