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'Helping hand': Clothes Line hosting Summer Sidewalk Social Saturday

'We want everyone to know it’s a fun place to come to shop and thrift but, as well, it’s also a place to come visit when you need that extra helping hand,' says official
Tiffany Tyrell-Shand of CONTACT Community Services, and Jennifer Bahinski of the Clothes Line are hoping events like the Summer Sidewalk Social will help spread the word about the free supports offered in Bradford.

Are you looking to be thrifty while helping a local non-profit organization help others?

This Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the Clothes Line, run by CONTACT Community Services, will be hosting a Summer Sidewalk Social.

In front of the store, located at 95 Holland St. W., the Clothes Line will have a tent set up with their best “thrift finds.” The social will also have refreshments, a summer raffle, and live music from a local Spanish guitarist.

“We’ve been looking for opportunities throughout the summer to really reach out to the community and let them know what the Clothes Line is all about and get the word out about all the services we offer as well at CONTACT Community Services,” said Jennifer Bahinski of the Clothes Line. “We thought what better way than to reach further and get out of the store and take up some space in front of it.”

After two years of pandemic-related shutdowns, Bahinski thinks this is the perfect way to reintroduce the Clothes Line to the people of Bradford.

“I find that the community really is far more engaged than ever and wanting to come out to attend these types of events,” she said. “We spoke to some of our neighbours in the plaza as well and they’re really excited and potentially going to come on board with us and taking over some of the space in the parking lot as well.”

The Clothes Line recycles gently used clothing, small household goods, electronics, toys, and books with proceeds going to support CONTACT Community Services. It also works with community organizations to provide free clothing and household goods to those in need.

“We’re completely volunteer-run and we’re able to provide these services based on donations from the community,” said Bahinski. “We offer these clothing items at reduced prices and we also offer it free to those in need.

"It’s very important because we have a lot of people who use our resources (with CONTACT) and are going to a new job or interview, and we’ll bring them to the store to find them an outfit," said Bahinski. "I find something as simple as a new shirt when going into a job interview changes the whole perspective and body language. It gives a new sense of confidence, it’s amazing what something as simple as a piece of clothing can do to help and build confidence.”

Next door to the Clothes Line, CONTACT Community Services will be holding an open house.

“They’re inviting some of our newly immigrated Ukrainian residents to tour the offices and let them know about some of the employment and housing services,” said Bahinski.

CONTACT Community Services helps those in the community that need support in housing and employment through free services.

“It’s very important for us to engage with the community and really emphasize that we’re an inclusive welcoming community centre and that we’re here to help,” says Bahinski.

“Having people meet each of our employees and volunteers one-on-one really helps as well because I think it reinforces that message that we aim to be a welcoming community hub. We want everyone to know it’s a fun place to come to shop and thrift but, as well, it’s also a place to come visit when you need that extra helping hand," she explained.

Bahinski says events like this one have become the best way to let the community know about CONTACT and the Clothes Line because many people in need of support don’t realize their services are free.

“I found that with the ReDiscover BWG event; it was such a great experience and I found that some people just didn’t know about us,” she explained. “Being out there and having an event like this is an even better way to let people know we have these services here for them.”

Rob Paul

About the Author: Rob Paul

Rob Paul is a journalist with NewmarketToday. He has a passion for sports and community feature stories
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