Improvements to one society’s outreach services are already underway and people can see it firsthand, thanks to the success of a fundraiser on the weekend.
A total of $59,748 was raised for Ann Davis Transition Society (ADTS) as part of the Coldest Night of the Year walk on Saturday.
“It far exceeded anything we could have hoped for,” said Patti MacAhonic, executive director for ADTS.
The money will go toward transforming their thrift shop on Yale Road into an outreach office, and renovation work has already begun at the site.
“Domestic violence numbers have gone up, violence against women has gone up, and people have more severe injuries when they do come in and when they are reporting to RCMP,” MacAhonic said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence calls to RCMP in Chilliwack have increased by 22 per cent, and at ADTS it’s up 43 per cent.
“It’s become apparent that we really need more outreach.”
They were able to get a head start on the space they rent at 46230 Yale Rd. recently thanks to $25,000 in funding from the City of Chilliwack and additional money from Shelter Canada to help out with staffing.
The location was home to Ann’s Treasures and Thrift Shoppe for nearly seven years. But what some people may not know is in addition to the used clothing and household items, there were already two small outreach offices tucked away in the back of the store.
Soon those outreach rooms will be the first thing women who need help will see when they step through the doors.
The transformation will mean three bigger outreach rooms will be available. There will be a mental health counsellor, a legal advocate, harm reduction supplies and they’re hoping to have doctors in future who will volunteer their time a few hours a week, MacAhonic said.
Clothing and household goods will still be on location to hand out to those in need, but any high-end donations that come in will be for sale on the soon-to-open virtual Ann’s Treasures and Thrift Shoppe.
The new outreach office is scheduled to open in mid-March with a virtual grand opening and tour, and MacAhonic wants people to know it’s thanks to the generosity of the people of Chilliwack that this was made possible so quickly.
“I want them to know they really have helped. Every dollar they have donated, every walk that they went on has made a difference. That $10 donation is just as much appreciated as the bigger donation.
“We can say thank you – I really do thank them from the bottom of my heart – but I think what people really need to hear is they are making a real difference for real people in our community right away,” she said. “Chilliwack has a real heart. It’s so apparent.”
People can still donate to the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser by going online to cnoy.org/location/chilliwack.