AGAPE thrift store and community outreach in Wetaskiwin will be under new management at the end of the month.
Manager Kate Halas has been with AGAPE for the past five and a half years, but has decided that now is the right time for her to take time away. Halas says that in addition to family health concerns pulling her away from work, the emotional toll of customers, friends and volunteers who have passed away in the past few years has begun to take its toll.
“I think I just need a break,” says Halas. “My heart can’t take much more.”
In addition to this Halas says that she hasn’t taken a wage in over five years at AGAPE and doesn’t have the supports or systems to help AGAPE grow and flourish from this point on.
“I feel I’ve taken AGAPE as far as it can go.”
This is something she knows the new manager, Georgina Schmaltz, will be able to help with.
Schmaltz says that she has the connections and the resources to know what grants and supports to apply for which will help AGAPE continue with its community supports. Some of the AGAPE’s policies that will stay in place through the new management transition include the emergency supports program and the $5 daily basket. With the emergency supports program anybody can come in and ask for a coat even if they can’t afford one.
These two programs are extremely important to Halas.
“When you are living in a community where the large population of people that live here are low income, helping them stretch their dollar is important,” says Halas. “That is kind of what AGAPE has always been about. We try to keep our prices super low and if you can’t afford it, we’ll give it to you.”
Schmaltz says, “everybody just needs a little helping hand once in a while.”
Halas and Schmaltz have talked consistently about AGAPE and Halas says she is confident that she is leaving AGAPE in capable hands. She knows that Schmaltz will not only have the support to take the vision for AGAPE further, but to continue the values of treating their customers like family.
“Something that we always really prided ourselves on is that we become like family,” says Halas. “People just know that they can come here and they will be treated like family.”
“I’m a grandma of 10, and I kind of want people to be like, this is grandma’s house,” says Schmaltz.
As of May 1, 2021 Schmaltz will take over AGAPE’s management.
On Sunday April 25, 2021 there will be a drive-by goodbye for Halas at AGAPE’s parking lot.