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Volunteer Central’s Good Business of the Month: Cosmos Group


Written by Ryan Charles Parker // Photo: Cosmos Group


Sometimes, waste isn’t waste. Just because we are finished with an item, it does not mean that our having exhausted it for ourselves renders it useless. No one knows this better than Cosmos.

Cosmos is an organization that does many helpful things with what we would sometimes consider trash. To this end, just to start, Cosmos runs three bottle depots: two in Red Deer and one in Blackfalds.

The amount of money that these bottle depots raise is quite astonishing. In 2019, Cosmos raised $594,702.35 for local charities.

That is a large chunk of cash, but Cosmos strives to become even more lucrative. As Trinesh Padiyachi, General Manager of the three depots run by the organization told me, (we want to) “become the number one in Alberta for recycling.”

Another initiative that the organization has taken up is bottle drives. Bottle drives generate revenue for many local charities, including, but very much not limited to, youth sports.

But Cosmos’ programs extend beyond collecting and recycling bottles. Their Recycling Infrastructure Program used blue bins to raise over $11,000 that was used to support non-profit organizations in Red Deer.

Cosmos does more than just recycle. They use their resources to teach everyday life skills for those who need them. They run courses to help establish skills and to help their clients with personal development. These courses include topics such as: anxiety, budgeting, communication, and so many more.

It was in this spirit that Cosmos opened the Karma Cafe in 2018. According to Cosmos’ website, the goal of the cafe is to “create a meaningful business that could provide individuals the opportunity to learn valuable employability skills within the Food Service Industry.”

The contribution to our community that Cosmos provides cannot fully fit into the space allowed in this article. They convert something as humble as empty bottles and use those bottles to generate thousands of dollars that is given back to organizations that truly need it. That is no small task.

And just as they help organizations, they help people. They offer courses for everyday life skills, which can be very difficult to develop. And not only do they teach these abilities in theory, they operate institutions that help put these skills into practice.

We are collectively grateful for their work, which has earned them the award of Good Business of the Month from Volunteer Central. And they’ve earned it.

Do you know a local business practicing corporate social responsibility? We’d love to hear about them! Email us at

Volunteer Central strives to build a strong, connected and engaged community through volunteerism.


And Money Flowed in the Streets….



It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Charles Dickens was a masterful writer with a superb grasp of the human psyche. In his Christmas Carol, which has been retold thousands of time since its original publication, he captured the penultimate human tragedy and richness: gratitude and thankfulness leads to an overflowing heart.

However, in this time in our world while every medical officer and professional is running the Covid 19 marathon, internet and news channel surfers are digesting every chart and update hungrily, and business men and women are looking to an uncertain future post crisis, people are discovering what is truly valuable.

We have witnessed the dismantling of sports empires worldwide-the NFL, NHL, MLB, MLS, PGA tours and other professional sports are now on pause for the 2020 season. Our entertainment industry, in addition to seeing Harvey Weinstein charged with sexual assault is also shut down worldwide. Business empires, so powerful in previous months are now powerless to resist falling sales and changing trend.

The gods of this world are now neutered, powerless, crownless and less significant everyday.

While public gatherings have been outlawed in numbers over 15, and social distancing has replaced conversation and relationships, families are spending more time together and hobbies are on the rise. I would venture to say that more people have never read so many books, or cooked so many cookies, or binged on Netflix or have been engaged with video entertainment than ever before.

On the positive side, crime rates are down. People are home so thieves are less likely to find empty homes.

The porn industry has shut down.

Houses are cleaneMoney flowed in the stretsr, and early spring cleaning is occurring.

Income tax season, while lengthened, will be less stressful for people.

Afternoon naps are now fashionable again.

People of faith can now find (or make) time to pray, read, and watch sermons and seminars online.

Music is more likely being played from all decades more often.

And then we consider the plight of the rich and entitled, when Covid 19 or any disease/condition enters their homes and robs them of health and a sense of well being…

Earlier today on whatsapp, a picture was posted with a quote from Sidhu, but it could also be from Ecclesiastes as well…

The richest people in Italy threw the money on the road and said, “This did not work in our bad times, we cannot save our loved ones, we cannot save our children, what is the use of this wealth? There is a lesson for those who value money more than humanity …. humbleness

Ecclesiastes 1: 1-4 states that, in the words of the teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem that”

 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

 What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?
 Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.”

In Italy, where Covid 19 has claimed thousands of victims, where a country is held hostage by something so small and insignificant, they have realized that no matter how much money they have, no matter now much power they have, that it cannot save their lives.

Their money, once a symbol of wealth and stature, now blows down empty city streets, rolling and curling in response to slight breezes and great gusts. Passers by walk by, pick up Euro every now and then and gaze upon the piles of powerless and valueless currency that pales in comparison to the greatest treasure of all: faith, humanity, health and humility.

Crisis Financial Management-From Where Should It Come?



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The Red Deer Downtown Business Association opens up survey for downtown identity project.



The Red Deer Downtown Business Association (DBA) is proud to announce the launch of their survey to assist the DBA’s ongoing efforts of creating an identity for Downtown Red Deer. This survey will be used to gain feedback from citizens of Red Deer and surrounding communities on their thoughts of downtown.

The DBA is looking for 20 individuals that complete the 3 to 5-minute survey, to participate in a longer 20-minute interview in return for a $10 gift card to one of the specialty coffee shops in the core.

The survey will be available from March 30, 2020 to April 20, 2020 on, the Downtown Red Deer Facebook page and the following link ( 

The Downtown Business Association has been operating in Red Deer for over 30 years, serving approximately five-hundred business owners in the Downtown area. Through partnerships and leadership in advocacy and promotion, the DBA is the catalyst for a vibrant and prosperous downtown that is the place to live, work, play and do business.

 For more information, contact:  Amanda Gould, Executive Director, Red Deer Downtown Businesses Association 403.340.8696

(originally published March 30, 2020)

COVID-19 swinging a wrecking ball through the arts community

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april, 2020

fri17apr10:00 am9:00 pmFeaturedOur Best to You Spring Handmade Market10:00 am - 9:00 pm Westerner Park, Parkland & Prairie Pavilions, 4847A-19 Street Event Organized By: Signatures Shows Ltd