A woman lucky enough to find the sanctuary of a women’s shelter after fleeing an abusive relationship can be like someone fleeing a fire.
They usually show up empty handed.
“They arrive with the clothes they are standing in,” Chilliwack Fraser Rotary Club member Lynne Goodwin said this week. “They leave with nothing, they have no lipstick no nail polish, nothing.”
At transition houses in the Chilliwack area such as Ann Davis and Wilma’s, the women are provided with a bed and the necessities, but if they have no money, anything beyond that is a stretch.
So over this holiday season, members of this Rotary Club hatched an idea: gift bags to bring a little dose of comfort at what can be a difficult and emotional time of the year.
The club put out the word and were overwhelmed with donations. Between the club itself and members, $500 was donated. A further $150 came in from other sources, and Safeway and Superstore gave $25 gift cards.
Then each gift bag contains aesthetic products from Soul2Sole, beauty items from Champagne and Lace, lip balm from Sardis Health Foods and much, much more. (For a full list of gifts and who donated see this story online at www.theprogress.com.)
The 20-or-so women between the two shelters, and their kids, were also given 50 game tickets and 50 hot dog and pop vouchers from the Chilliwack Chiefs, as well as cookies and party platters for their common rooms.
“This has gone way past what we ever thought it would be,” club member Linda Rook said. “It’s amazing the among of goods we’ve been able to provide.”
The gift bag idea is a first for the Rotary Club, and represents putting the clubs ideals into action, Rook added.