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‘Stories of Hope’ shared at Sardis Doorway fundraiser in Chilliwack

Money raised will help pay for weekly programs offered free to single moms in Chilliwack
From left: Ashleigh Ottley (with son Colt), Christina Barkman, Ashley Dedels, Melissa Stennett and Gina Hunter laugh together at Sardis Doorway on April 3, 2024. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

People can hear ‘Stories of Hope’ from single mothers during an upcoming fundraiser in Chilliwack.

That’s the name of the April 20 event hosted by the Sardis Doorway for Mothers and Children Society, a not-for-profit organization that offers weekly free programs for single moms.

“We want people to come and hear the stories that will be told,” said program director Karin Rempel.

In addition to it being a fundraiser, and a place to listen to what some of the moms have to say, people will hear about the programs offered.

Sardis Doorway offers a huge range of services and information including: income assistance, funding, debt management, free food hampers, free clothing for moms and kids, immunizations, and dental care. They help moms with going back to school, status cards, getting their driver’s licence, first aid and food safe courses, and more.

The also offer free childcare so moms can focus during the weekly classes. Women who apply must have at least one child under the age of Kindergarten, and be parenting alone or are under-supported.

Women take part in Sardis Doorway on April 3, 2024. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Ashleigh Ottley, 20, was fresh out of high school when she had her son Colt. She heard about Sardis Doorway but was reluctant to join because of her age – many moms in the program are in their 30s.

“A lot of the life experiences are different,” she said.

But then she heard about the Young Moms program which launched in October and decided to give it a shot.

“I find a lot of the young moms kind of stay away from the public groups because there’s a lot of stigma to it. This group has been really helpful because I can see I’m not the only one, there are other moms my age.”

One thing she loves about Young Moms is it’s more of a social program.

“It’s not super structured…it’s a lot more casual, a lot more chit-chat, a lot more open. You don’t have to feel like you’re in a class.”

READ MORE: Volunteers are the backbone of Sardis Doorway

Another class is called When Love Hurts. It’s a program for survivors of abuse in a relationship.

Initially, Ashley Dedels didn’t think the program was the right fit for her as she was not physically abused.

“As you get into it you realize that… it wasn’t a healthy relationship on either part. It made me realize, too, that I was also doing things that were not contributing to a healthy relationship.”

She said When Love Hurts helped her validate the fact that the relationship ending was positive.

“It was an incredible therapeutic experience at the perfect time in my life,” Dedels said, choking back tears.

“It opens up your eyes. I know what to watch out for – the red flags – and to not be in those abusive situations, especially with my children,” added classmate Melissa Stennett.

Gina Hunter said Sardis Doorway “saved” her.

“I spent so much of my time trying to fix things. Coming through these programs, I’m realizing it wasn’t my fault…(but) I’m not perfect,” she said.

“I wish every woman could come to Doorway. These programs are amazing. They lift you up when you’re falling apart…and they carry you in a way that I’ve never been carried before,” Hunter said. “I owe how I’m doing mentally to these wonderful women. I beat depression…and it’s because of the support that I have here.”

Stories of Hope, a fundraiser for Sardis Doorway for Mothers and Children Society, is Saturday, April 20, 6 p.m., at Sardis Community Church (45625 South Sumas Rd.). It’s a dessert event with a live auction and an online silent auction (beginning April 12). Tickets are $20. To buy tickets, email or call Karin Rempel at 604-819-6556. For more info, go to

Looking for more events taking place in and around Chilliwack? Check out What’s happening Chilliwack in our community section.

Jenna Hauck

About the Author: Jenna Hauck

I started my career at The Chilliwack Progress in 2000 as a photojournalist.
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