Founded in 1992, Women in Need Society (WINS) is Calgary’s homegrown thrift charity, providing basic needs resources and support to women and their families. WINS has been supporting women and children in our community for over 30 years and has grown from one thrift store location to six across Calgary, in addition to their Donation Centre. In 2020 they launched a bulk thrift store, MORE Store! along with an online thrift box service, TwiceNEW.
We had a chance to catch up with Karen Ramchuk, WINS’ President & CEO and Carla Gervais, WINS’ Sr. Fund Development Manager on all of their exciting updates. Karen says:
“The MORE Store! has done extremely well with year over year sales more than 50% higher. There are line-ups of people waiting to get in and customer counts have also doubled since last year.”
Karen and Carla explain there is a strong sense of community share in the MORE Store, especially ever since Covid restrictions lifted. Another major change that happened for WINS in the past year is that they moved their head office and one of their thrift stores to the Beltline – Trico’s previous office building!
Karen says that WINS is “a conduit for Calgarians to help other Calgarians. If you shop, donate cash or donate product to WINS, those dollars go to directly help local Calgary women and their families.”
WINS took the time to adjust to their expansion, adding their new Beltline location but now, they are settled in and are accelerating quickly. Karen explains:
“Our Retail and Warehouse Ready programs are more robust, we offer free emergency food and hygiene items, we have corporate partnerships with Costco and Amazon, our Endy mattress partnership supplies more than 100 mattresses per month to those in need, our after school snack program provides snacks for 200 children per month, and WINS has been busy with providing free furniture and clothing items to both the Afghan refugees and the Ukraine arrivals.”
Looking to the future, Karen reiterates how WINS is of the utmost importance, especially now:
“The pandemic had deeper, longer-lasting impacts on women, domestic violence rose through the pandemic, and the rising costs through inflation has increased the face of poverty in our city. WINS is needed now more than ever.”
Please stay tuned and watch for exciting new announcements from WINS in 2023.
You can read our previous coverage of their journey here: