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From Shabby to Shelved: The story of our donation room renovation

Most staff at the Boyle Street Community Centre are familiar with our donation room. Located next to the Drop-In, where our community members gather for food, shelter and conversation, the donation room is at the intersection of the hustle and bustle at Boyle Street. In March 2021, Lot 34 stepped up to help us transform our donation room into a more functional space.

When you walk into the Drop-In, you're often met with many hellos and requests for clothing and hygiene supplies. Boyle Street runs what we call an emergency donation room. That means we focus providing items to meet the immediate needs of our community and accept donations of essential items such as winter clothing, socks and underwear, and hygiene supplies. The fast pace of our work environment means that our donation room needs to be organized so our staff can quickly find what our community members need. When donations kept piling up, we reached out to Lot 34, a local build and design business, for help.

Lindsay and Tyler, the owners of Lot 34 (formerly known as Second Chance Studios), have been supporting our community for several years. On top of donating 10% of the profits from their vintage home goods to Boyle Street, they regularly participate in our bottle drives and fundraisers. When we reached out to Lot 34 about renovating our donation room, Lindsay and Tyler immediately offered up their time and skills for the project.

Tyler and Lindsay, co-owners of Lot 34.
“We feel really privileged to run a small business where we’re invited into people’s homes to make those living spaces something people love even more,” said Lindsay. “But we also recognize that having a space you get to call home isn’t something everyone has access to. As a small company, we don’t have the power to create impactful change by ourselves, so we felt that the best way we could lend a hand would be to partner with Boyle Street, an organization that’s already doing that work.”

Our community partners rallied around the donation room renovation. TD Canada sponsored the renovation and Lot 34 created a digital rendering of their design for the space:

For an emergency donation room, functionality is key. Lindsay and Tyler visited our donation room to meet our staff, volunteers and community members and get a better understanding of the space. They quickly understood our challenge: When donations pile up, it makes it harder for staff to find what people need and takes time away from providing services such as housing, mental health and employment.

“We understood that you wouldn’t have hours and hours to spend in the donation room organizing so we thought, how can we make a space that can still be accessed quickly but with a little more order.” -Lindsay, Lot 34

Lindsay and Tyler’s friend Kyle, the owner of YEG Built, donated his time and labor for the installation. Several Boyle Street volunteers generously spent a weekend cleaning out the donation room and sorting existing donations. The donation room will rely largely on volunteer support to keep the space clean and functional once COVID-19 restrictions lift.

Our donation room renovation is a wonderful reminder of how much we can accomplish when Edmontonians co