When people are in need the newly founded Cariboo Community Lighthouse Association aims to be there to help.
The association, formed earlier this year, is in the process of turning the old Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre building behind St. Timothy’s Anglican Church into a new thrift shop. The project has the support of several local churches and is the brainchild of Cariboo Community Lighthouse Association chairperson Ted Scott.
“This is a thrift store and we sell things here but if people come here and they have a need but no money we will do everything we can to meet that need,” Scott said. “We want to be able to get them into housing (if they need it) and get them to mental health services. We just want to meet the needs of the people in need.”
Scott, 71, has lived in the Cariboo for the last 23 years and has worked several jobs in the community. Most recently he’s become a gold prospector working claims in the Keithley Creek and McLeese Lake areas.
As a practicing Christian, he said helping those in need has always been a cause close to his heart. While living down on the coast Scott helped found a thrift store to support the Adult & Teen Challenge Society of BC and worked as a life skills coach to help those struggling with addiction.
Scott said he first started thinking about helping people in need in the South Cariboo a year-and-a-half ago while at a business meeting in A&W. He encountered a woman who was in “really bad need” and despite calling several people was unable to get any help for her. Finding a way to help people like her stayed on Scott’s mind and after the Sisters Thrift Shoppe was opened in the 108 Mile Ranch, he got the idea to open a non-profit thrift store next door.
“I helped build all their shelves for them and I was going to found a thrift store next to them. There was a need for tools and furniture that they thought I could fill.”
However, the location in the 108 proved unsuitable and Scott’s plans stalled. While laying in bed praying on the issue one night, Scott said he remembered that the Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre’s old building in 100 Mile House was still unoccupied.
Approaching one of the directors of St. Timothy’s Anglican Church he learned the church planned to tear the old building down to add new parking behind the church. They offered Scott the chance to make a presentation to the board in March and after hearing his plans they voted unanimously to let him use the building.
Since March, Scott, the association’s board and several volunteers have been working to fix up the old building, installing new flooring donated by Lee’s Custom Floors and waterlines to replace the old ones that froze during the winter. Scott said they have the direct support of St Timothy’s Anglican Church, Cariboo Christian Life Fellowship and Cariboo House Churches, whom Scott attends.
“I’m a Christian and we have a group of different Christians from different churches who are supporting this,” Scott said. “We want to have a resource here and help any way we can so that we can connect people who are in need with the proper resources.”
Once they’re up and running Scott said they’ll be selling donated clothes and small furniture, such as coffee tables, with all proceeds used to support the thrift shop and the community. As revenue starts to come in there have even been talks of hiring someone to run the store from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., which will be done by volunteers in the meantime. They plan to open the thrift store on Aug. 12 with Scott welcoming anyone from the community to attend.
“It feels good because a lot of the work has been done and we’re getting closer to the opening date,” Scott said. “It’s on a Saturday so we may have some music (to celebrate).”
Scott said he welcomes donations and volunteers from anyone willing to help out. The association can be contacted on Facebook or by calling Scott at 250-945-4986.
“This will probably grow and we’ll be able to reach out more and any revenue will go towards charity. If the food banks need money, then we will direct that money to them,” Scott said. “I’d like to get to a point where if people come in here hungry we can give them a voucher for food.”