Psalm 23 Transition Society founder and executive director Marvin Declare (c) with the Society’s new cube van, Dec. 2019. With him is Clearway Car and Truck Rentals CEO Gary Schellenberg (l) and Clearway general manager Jeremy Olsen. Photo credit: Psalm 23 Transition Society

Psalm 23 Society gives hope to people, gives back to community

‘When someone reaches out we want to be there for them’

The Psalm 23 Society Transition Society anticipates opening a new thrift store at its site at 59 Mile north of Clinton on the Labour Day weekend.

The new store, which is insulated and will be heated through the winter, will likely be open Wednesday through Saturday and will help the Society with its funding, said Marvin Declare, Psalm 23’s founder and executive director. Female volunteers with the society have already shown interest and want to be part of it, while one of the guys in the mentorship program will be trained to be on the business side.

“With COVID-19 we’ve had to cancel every fundraiser we would have had, so the thrift store is a move towards funding the daily programs that we do, and helping bring down the cost for individuals who go through our program,” Declare said.

“There’s only so much you can fundraise, and it seems like we have one fundraiser after another to raise money to keep the doors open. This way we can do things and train people, doing something more than just fundraising. It’s more sustainable, and a way to give back to the community, which is a huge belief of ours. We have stuff, and will put together care packages for people so they can restart their lives.”

Declare said Psalm 23 is trying to create a business component, noting that “when men go through our program it’s more than just trying to give them recovery, it’s about job preparation, work ethic.”

A few years ago, for instance, the Society developed a catering arm. “We do a cooking class with students every Thursday, and it’s an ongoing daily thing, so we looked at catering. It began as a small part of what we did, then started to spread. In November and December, we get busy and booked up, and have a couple of events a week, so we’ll see what happens this year,” Declare said.

“We’ve had some people who went through our program who now work with catering companies in the Lower Mainland. A lot of the men really enjoy cooking, and their families and wives call us up to thank us.

“It’s about raising these opportunities for men to develop skill sets.”

The Society also does community outreach, working closely with the Clinton and District Community Forest, which brings in truckloads of logs to their property and teaches the men who to use chainsaws.

“The men cut, split, and stack the wood so it’s seasoned, and in the fall we put it on a flat deck and deliver half-a-cord to each person on our list,” Declare said. “It helps us give back, helps the Community Forest, and they give us wood for our own heating purposes.”

The Society also gets calls from the Clinton Seniors’ Centre to set up and take down chairs and tables for events. Recently Huber Farms had some fencing they needed put up, so the Society went and helped out.

Psalm 23 is now in the process of putting in an addition to a woodworking shop, he added. Declare said they have a donor who wants them to raise $20,000, and they will donate $100,000 in new woodworking equipment.

“There are lots of exciting things going on, and we’re looking at all the positives that have happened. We’re trying to get buildings completed and grants written,” he said. “We got a gaming grant and $30,000 more to operate this year, and got $20,000 for a cube van that’s in better shape than the one we have for pickups, deliveries, etc. We’ve been blessed in that area.”

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The Psalm 23 Transition Society graduation ceremony in July 2020 took place in the Society’s new thrift store building. The plan is for the store to be finished and open in time for the Labour Day 2020 weekend. Photo credit: Psalm 23 Transition Society

Psalm 23 Transition Society volunteers working on new fencing at Huber Farms near 59 Mile, B.C., July 2020. Photo credit: Psalm 23 Transition Society

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