Helma Swinkels, left, from Bibi J’s is all smiles as she makes her first donation under the new business name to Ellen Frood from Alberni Community and Women’s Services (ACAWS). In 18 sales days, Swinkels was able to donate $3,000 to the transition house. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Helma Swinkels, left, from Bibi J’s is all smiles as she makes her first donation under the new business name to Ellen Frood from Alberni Community and Women’s Services (ACAWS). In 18 sales days, Swinkels was able to donate $3,000 to the transition house. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Bibi J’s in Port Alberni makes first donation to non-profit

Alberni Women and Community Services to benefit

Just 18 shopping days after opening, Bibi J’s has made its first donation to a non-profit organization.

Bibi J’s owner Helma Swinkels on Jan. 8 donated $3,000 to Alberni Community and Women’s Services.

Bibi J’s was formerly known as Pot Luck Ceramics, a ground-breaking “profit for non-profit” Swinkels created to raise money for Ty Watson House Hospice. A decade after it opened, volunteer-run Pot Luck Ceramics was a victim of COVID-19. Swinkels didn’t want to give up the cottage on Gertrude Street, so she reinvented Pot Luck into a trimmer profit for non-profit—expanding the types of charitable organizations that will benefit, and resolving to make smaller donations more often, as profits allow.

READ: Former Pot Luck Ceramics location reimagined as Bibi J’s

She was surprised at being in the position to make her first donation so quickly, especially during a challenging economy still under the effects of COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s the gift that gives,” and customers like that, Swinkels said. “For me, it’s important people understand this is still a profit for non-profit.”

She did not want to lose the advantage gained through 10 years of Pot Luck Ceramics’ success.

“It’s amazing,” said Ellen Frood, executive director for ACAWS. The donation will go toward the transition house.

“Our transition house has been over-full,” she said.

“We’re funded for 11 beds and we’ve had more people than that in the house.”

Food costs have risen with the high numbers of people using transition house, and the cost for taxis has risen too—clients are often brought to the transition house via taxi. Fundraising has been difficult thanks to restrictions.

“We’re unbelievably thankful for this wonderful gift,” Frood said. “And so proud of Bibi J’s. Pot Luck Ceramics started and became something new, and very quickly they have started giving.”



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

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