Mel Boutilier’s Metro Care and Share seeks charity status

Boutilier’s mission is to raise funds to help talented students in pursuit of secondary education.

The warehouse is filled with furniture and household items, and every day there are people dropping off more. For Mel Boutilier, accepting donations is the easy part. The real challenge has been to re-register Metro Care and Share as an official charity.

Boutilier, head of the resurrected charity, says they’ve been working with the Canada Revenue Agency since August to try to get all of the paperwork sorted out.

“We have a great committee that is anxious to do big things and they have plans that depend a lot on when we get our charity number,” said Boutilier.

Metro Care and Share includes a thrift store on Agricola Street in Halifax’s north end. The store was opened to the public on Jan. 29, Boutilier’s 87th birthday. The goal is to raise money for the Halifax Scholars Program and send talented students to post-secondary institutions who cannot afford it themselves.

The program will help cover tuition expenses and assign a mentor to help guide the students through all aspects of their educational experience. These mentors will be paired with students based on their interests or experience to make sure that they are a good fit for the student.

“The financial aid will cover tuition, books, everything. Not just funds for paying for school but also all the other necessities that go along with it. If you’re going to throw them into it, you have to be able to support them,” said Solitha Shortte, the program’s marketing co-ordinator.

Boutilier and his team are anxious to get started on selecting students, but they still don’t know how many students they will be able to help without first registering officially with the Canada Revenue Agency.

The charity status will allow Metro Care and Share to provide tax receipts for donations they receive, to reduce their property tax, and will make them eligible for government grants.

“Depending on how successful we are with fundraisers is how many (students) we’ll be able to support. We’ll make that determination once we get our tax number, but there is a lot of red tape when it comes to working with the government,” said Shortte.

Until then, the planning continues and the thrift store is still accepting donations.

“It’s exciting to see the interest that the community has and the way they’ve been donating items that we can re-sell to generate funds,” said Boutilier.

Boutilier is optimistic. He says they’ll announce a big fundraising plan once they get their tax number and will celebrate with a grand opening event for the public.

“Great things are happening,” he said with a smile.