The Mailmans are shaking things up at the Weyburn Salvation Army this year. Lieutenants Michael and Melissa Mailman may have been content to sit back and let things happen last year, but with a full year under their belt, the couple is ready to make the Weyburn Salvation Army a place that they, and the community, are proud to be a part of.
One of the first changes they were nearly forced to make was the closing of the Thrift Shop.
?When we arrived here a year ago, headquarters questioned the viability of the Thrift Shop,? said Michael. ?Our Thrift Store has been carrying a deficit for a lot of years but we don?t want to close it.?
Michael explained that although the store is carrying a large deficit, the Salvation Army is one-third of the way out of it.
The Army recently raised $578.66 for the Thrift Store by holding a Fall Fashion Show on September 25, a new event for the couple and the store. The money was raised through ticket sales and the purchase of Thrift Store items at the show.
Michael said they decided to hold the fashion show not only to raise money, but to raise awareness in the community.
?We want to try to break some of the stigma around the Thrift Store - that only people that can?t afford to shop elsewhere shop at the store,? said Michael. ?We?re trying to make it a place where everyone would shop. View it like a garage sale - all year-round and indoors.?
The Mailmans said that the money raised at the fashion show will go towards bettering the store and getting the building out of debt.
Once again, they were overwhelmed by the generosity of Weyburn residents and businesses.
?At the fashion show we had a regular customer, Cyndi Babiarz, who made all the cupcakes,? said Melissa. ?Her union paid for all the ingredients when they heard what she was doing. She works at the Wholesale.?
Another major contributor to the fashion show was Captain?s Hall, which gave them the use of their hall for free.
Another way the couple is trying to better the store is through a new partnership with the Weyburn Wor-Kin Shop. Every Tuesday and Thursday, two members of the Wor-Kin Shop come to volunteer at the store, dusting and rotating stock.
?It's really a win-win situation,? said Melissa. ?They get job experience and we get free labour.?
The Mailmans said that although their goal is to get the store out of debt, their dream is to get a new building for the store. They said that because the store is on two levels and there is no elevator, this makes it difficult for disabled customers and their staff, who must move furniture down the narrow staircase.
?Our workers risk life and limb for a couch that might raise us $50,? Melissa said.
Another change the couple is planning to implement is the elimination of their Arrest Request fundraiser.
?When we first moved here they were doing the Arrest Request and calling it Jail and Bail, which we found out actually belonged to the Canadian Cancer Society,? said Melissa.
Not wanting to take on another charity?s fundraiser, they decided that the best thing to do was to quit the campaign.
?We would rather save our integrity than raise more money,? said Melissa.
She compared the Army?s use of the Jail and Bail to another organization using the Salvation Army?s signature kettles to raise money.
Instead of the Arrest Request, the Army is launching Cash for the Community and the Mailmans hope this fundraiser will have businesses, organizations and families coming up with their own ideas to raise money.
They are encouraging residents to get a jar and come up with their own ways to fill it with cash.
?Maybe a dress-down Friday or a swear jar, something like that,? said Melissa.
When the Army launches their annual Kettle Campaign on November 19, they hope to receive the full jars.
Another new aspect of the Kettle Campaign is Adopt-a-Kettle.
?Companies, groups or families can chose to adopt a kettle for a day or two,? said Michael. ?They man it and there will be a sign thanking the company or organization.?
The Mailmans admitted that they are concerned about changing their fundraisers and hope that the new events will catch-on.
The Army recently launched their annual Food Drive and Toy Drive, receiving several donations of money, toys and food from businesses and organizations.
Most recently, the Investors Group Comedy Night raised $1,787.55 cash and another $1,500 worth of food for the Salvation Army Food Bank. The 15th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive put on by Weyburn?s postal workers raised 3,500 pounds of food and about $50 cash.
The Christmas Campaign is next on the Mailmans to-do list. Applications for Adopt-a-Family start in mid-November.