Boyle Street Community Services is taking the month of October as a Month of Thanks. We’ll be highlighting partners whose advocacy and support have been instrumental to our success this year.
If you’ve been following us for a while, you probably have heard about the various floods and building damage we’ve sustained over the years. After one particularly bad flood, Boyle Street Director of Operations Ian Mathieson asked our insurance provider for a recommendation for some restoration services. They put us in touch with On Side Restoration, and what started as another restoration job soon turned into something much more supportive of our community.
“I was just immediately impressed with their quality of work and service delivery and the way they treated their employees,” Ian said.
“I would say they treated us as a partner not as just another client. They were really respectful to our staff and to our building and our facility, but also to our community members when they did interact with them.”
On Side got us back into functioning form after a few floods, as well as doing a few other projects for us around the community centre. But aside from working on our building, they quickly became instrumental in working with our community. After working on the building for a short time, Project Manager Lee MacDonald said his eyes were opened to the work that Boyle Street does in the community.
“I went back to the office to grab some water bottles to donate to the community centre,” Lee said, “but then the conversation turned to other ways we could contribute.”
In the fall of 2020, On Side approached us with the idea of holding a drive-through event for in-kind donations. In-kind donations are donations of goods and materials that our community members find helpful or even integral to their well-being and survival. Due to COVID-19 and other logistic concerns, we’re not always able to take in-kind donations – but On Side stepped up and offered to handle all the concerns with gathering donations, including the storing, sorting, and cleaning of items. These tasks are always an issue but are exacerbated thanks to the pandemic.
That year, the event saw between 40-50 cars drive through. There had been little fanfare and a moderate media presence, but the donation drive was ultimately very successful. Many of the supplies gather by On Side and their industry partners lasted almost an entire year.
This year though, they thought they needed to go a little bigger. “The first year was relatively successful, but I thought if we were going to do this again, let’s make it bigger, give it a theme and make it an event,” said Lisa Nykoluk, Executive of Client Solutions at On Side. Establishing a drag race theme, industry partners and community businesses were able to set up a faux racetrack, bring real classic and racing cars onsite, and provide treats and swag to the cars driving through offering donations.
“Everyone was super pumped and looking forward to it,” Lee said. “It was a feel-good rush.” Lisa agreed that “it was a morale booster for sure.”
Together with individual donations from 104 cars and a large monetary donation from an industry partner, On Side was able to raise over $13,000 and fill three large bins full of donations. The monetary donations are essential to the agile support of our community members, allowing us to respond to needs in real-time. The in-kind donations as well will go a long way to maintaining the dignity and safety of our community members.
On Side didn’t stop there. Across the country, the organization was gathering socks as part of a giving-back campaign called Socktember. This sock gathering campaign, started by The DYOJO Way, a restoration professionals podcast, intersected with On Side’s local drive-through event and they were able to gather more than 4,500 pairs of socks in Edmonton. These socks, one of the most requested items from our emergency donation room all year, will make their way to Boyle Street as the designated recipient.
“It’s huge,” Ian said, speaking of the contributions the On Side has been able to put forward. “It means we can continue to support people and do the work on the ground and not have to worry about running around finding things for people.” When asked about continuing the relationship between Boyle Street and On Side, Ian said
“without hesitation, if I ever have any restoration or flood or fire damage or anything like that - they're going to be the first company I call. I'm just really happy that it's blossomed into a relationship beyond fixing our building and into something a lot more supportive for our community members who come into the building.”
Speaking of the event, Lisa said “It’s a lot of fun to collaborate. It’s not just our effort, we invited a lot of industry partners to come help and they really showed up.” Lisa wanted to specifically thank the following partners for their help in organizing and executing the event:
Origin and Cause
Page the Cleaners
To learn more about On Side Restoration, visit https://www.onside.ca/en/.