Whispers of Hope names new coordinator

Melissa Shulga will be the new coordinator as the group navigates change in the coming months.

Whispers of Hope has a new coordinator to help guide the thrift store and community kitchen, as the organization looks ahead to challenges and a change of location in the coming months.

Melissa Shulga, a former Whispers of Hope Benevolence Association board member, accepted the position of coordinator in September. Shulga held a board position for three years, two of those as treasurer, when she left the board to take on the paid coordinator’s position.

Shulga has long lived in Grand Forks, she said, and was inspired to start working with Whispers when her mother, Kim McLellan, also a Whispers board member, got involved.

“When I heard about the kitchen, my heart was in it,” Shulga said. “I’ve always been interested in feeding people and sustainability of food, things like that, that was my passion, and seeing the cause behind it, the thrift store driving the kitchen, a homegrown charity where all the funds stay here.”

Shulga said her background is in business administration, and worked previously with Shambhala Music Festival in financial management and human resources. While in the past it hadn’t lined up for her to work with Whispers, she said she’s long thought it would be a cool job.

“I was sad to see Andre [Boruck] go, I was around, even though I was working out of town and volunteering here, and someone suggested I apply,” Shulga said. “I remember thinking two years ago that Andre had the coolest job. No day is the same, every day is challenging.”

As coordinator, Shulga’s job varies depending on the day, ranging from maintenance to grant applications to finances and monthly reporting. Whispers currently has about 30 active volunteers that work in the kitchen and thrift store, including the board.

“It is about being a conduit between operations, volunteers making things run, and the board. This big vision and trying to translate that into how do we best help people?,” she said. “Being someone to talk to when [people] don’t know who to reach. We can’t always be the ones to help, but we can connect them [with resources] and reach out, and that has been huge.”

Shulga said she acknowledges she’s taking the helm at a transitional period for the organization following an eviction notice served by the City of Grand Forks in August, but said she hopes she can help the organization develop with the community kitchen at the heart over the coming months.

“[I see myself] trying to be that rock. I have helped navigate change management before. It is difficult and overwhleming, and change can push people away and I would hate for that with Whispers,” Shulga said. “I see this as a positive opportunity for us to grow, unite, [and] I think I am a positive force that reminds people, ‘there is good to come of it and we are doing good things,’ keeping our eyes on the prize and feet on the ground.”

Whispers of Hope Community Kitchen

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Health First’ leads planning for SD51 re-opening.

The province wants final plans by Aug. 26

July Kootenay real estate sales at record high

Sales and prices of Kootenay real estate on the rise

Smoker Farms bringing craft-style cannabis to Beaverdell

Husband-wife team growing small-scale cultivations of marijuana

RCMP investigating alleged pellet gun shooting

Those involved are considered well known to Grand Forks RCMP

Maintain your yards, advises Grand Forks Fire Department

Short grass kept Aug. 2 camper fire from spreading

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

COVID-19 could mean curtains for film and TV extras

Background performers worry they’re being replaced by mannequins on film and TV sets

Most Read