Throughout the past five decades, Main Street Project has only grown, by providing more services and programs available for Winnipeg's most marginalized, all the while, staying true to its roots.
In 1972, John Rodgers began working at Main Street Project (MSP) which he thought would be a temporary job. However, three years after starting, he served as the Executive Director of MSP for 23 years until his passing in 1998. Rodgers was locally known as "Winnipeg's Mother Theresa," as he was a man who valued helping those who were disadvantaged.
Clay Lewis was one of MSP's co-founders when it was created in 1972. He was known for his efforts to support Winnipeg's inner City. Together, these two men created the foundation for an organization that continues to connect with the community and improve the lives of the city's most vulnerable citizens.
MSP offers an emergency shelter, a 24/7 drop-in, a mobile outreach program that is always operational 24/7 365 days a year, withdrawal programs, supportive and transitional housing, Winnipeg's protective care unit, and an isolation space that was created during the pandemic.
Now, the nonprofit organization is marking 50 years of operation and is hosting an event open to the community on December 3, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Thunderbird House
"Now, we're not really celebrating because you know we shouldn't even be here," says Anastasia Ziprick, Executive Director of MSP. "We just want to make that point clear that we're acknowledging the hard work of the many staff and volunteers that have been of service to the community for 50 years."
From 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., MSP will hold the event for past and current MSP staff, volunteers and board members. From 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., the event will be open for anyone to join.
The open house will include storytelling from people impacted by MSP, John Rodgers's son will present memorabilia and historical items, there will be snacks and drinks, and a video team will be there recording the entire event.
Future plans for MSP include renovations, which are only in the planning stages right now, but a sneak peek of the plans may be shown at the open house on Saturday.
Ziprick also says that they want visitors to share what their hopes and dreams are for Main Street Project, share any ideas they may have, and what they see the next few decades looking like for the organization.
"At the event, we're also doing our Holiday Gift Drive so folks can come visit and bring something for our holiday gift drive. So, every Christmas we wrap up 500 gift bags to give to people using our services on that day so that someone in our shelter or through our van outreach just, a gift bag with, you know, mitts, hats, treats, that kind of stuff."
To get an understanding of how many people will be at the event, anyone wishing to attend should obtain free event tickets by clicking here.
For more information about Main Street Project, visit its website.