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Community Builder award recipient Blanche Mirault. Photo courtesy of United Way East Ontario.

Community Builders: Blanche Mirault gives Pembroke community support from her independent thrift store

By Apartment613 on March 9, 2021

This winter, United Way East Ontario announced six new Community Builder Award recipients being honoured for their unwavering support to their communities in these challenging times. Check out the full list of recipients here and read on to learn about recent recipient Blanche Mirault.

Blanche Mirault has worked tirelessly for the better part of a decade ensuring that everyone in her community has a place that they can come home to. Blanche operates Got You In Mind, a community-orientated thrift store located in Pembroke.

In 2018, with support from a newly created board of directors and assistance from a lawyer, Got You in Mind achieved not-for-profit-status. Community driven to its core, the thrift store operates on donations without assistance from provincial or federal grants. Since its opening, the store has served as a symbol of generosity in Renfrew County, with gently used clothing and household items given a new home to those in need. Proceeds collected from sales are used by Blanche to create small wellness kits containing vital necessities, such as toiletries, for community members in need.

Blanche Mirault, Community Builder award recipient. Photo: United Way East Ontario.

“If you ever need anyone to come home to, you come on home. Never give up because you are worth it! Thank you again to everyone that has supported me and Got You In Mind.”

Blanche’s kindness is admired throughout her community in Pembroke—she is known as someone who never turns away anyone experiencing a personal tragedy or crisis. She is committed to ensuring that individuals dealing with their own mental health needs have a friendly space and a compassionate ear.

As the weather grew colder, Blanche saw the community struggling to obtain the necessities to stay warm. Determined, Blanche created the free coat initiative. Donations of coats, hats and mitts are placed on a rack outside the store for anyone who needs them. Her kind gesture has provided over 200 individuals an opportunity to stay warm and connected with their community.

Blanche acts from a place of compassion, empathy, and generosity, and has been a relentless supporter of those members in our community who face barriers. Thanks to Blanche, every donation includes an extra item for those in need: Hope.

While we don’t yet know when we will be able to gather again at the Wall of Inspiration at Ottawa City Hall, we look forward to adding the names of these community builders in a future ceremony.