According to the Canadians Women’s Foundation: half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. On any given day in Canada, more than 3,300 women (along with their 3,000 children) are forced to sleep in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence. Every night, about 200 women are turned away because the shelters are full. On average, every six days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. Despite these alarming statistics, some still turn a blind eye.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone, and Lanark County Interval House provides comprehensive resources and support for victims of domestic violence. Women on the run from abusers can seek emergency shelter and transitional safe housing for themselves and their children, complete with meals and counselors to help disable the cycle from perpetuating.
Whether you’re a mother or not, whether you’re a victim of domestic violence or not; you’re a woman first. Think of having to flee your home at an instant. Yes, you need shelter, but you also need the basic necessities of life regardless of the situation. You might not realize it, but one person can make a difference in someone’s life.
During the holiday season, Lanark County Interval House gathers and gives out gifts to hundreds of women, children and teens who they’ve supported over the past year. For the staff of Interval House it’s the best few weeks of the year because it’s filled with good cheer and giving. They get to experience the joy of the donating public, and then be able to hand out the gifts to families who truly appreciate it.
At this time of year, if anyone would like to help, they can do so by purchasing a gift for boys and girls of all ages, babies, pre-schoolers, kindergarten, primary and middle school. They are often low on teen gifts so gift certificates for places like Shoppers Drug Mart, Canadian Tire, EB Games, Tim Horton’s, or Target and Walmart go a long way for the youth they support.
Like myself, women sometimes have a way of putting everyone else first. The women in Interval House are some of the strongest, most resilient people who could really use that pick-me-up and morale boost during the holidays. Because tastes vary, it’s hard to say what sort of things the women would like best, but anything from slippers to winter mitts, or maybe a gift card for a book store or dinner would be the perfect thing.
Interval House has a wish list (see bottom of article) they put together earlier this year in hope of finding donors to help them alleviate some of their daily operational costs. It gives people an option to give tangible items and allows them to see exactly how their donation helps.
Sometimes it’s hard for people to understand how they use the donations to run counseling groups, or for transportation, public education, or their training programs, but everyone has experienced the rising costs in maintaining their own household. All the basic things like tinfoil, lunch snacks for the children’s school lunches, or batteries are mandatory supplies for their clients.
Churches and book clubs have taken up the challenge, or sometimes, instead of gifts, people have asked guests attending birthday parties to bring donations instead. Interval House provides wish list postcards and purple grocery bags to their group members who in turn take them and challenge their community groups or friends to fill the pantry.
They have several drop off points are this year. People can drop off their donations at:
CRUSH Marketplace in Almonte
Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce Visitor Centre at the old train station
ZenDragon Martial Arts studio in the Giant Tiger mall in Smiths Falls
The Loft Artisan shop in Davidson’s Courtyard in Smiths Falls.
All of these local businesses have generously offered to collect items for the agency. We thank them for their support! Please note: if the public would like to donate perishable items to help with holiday meals at the shelter, turkeys, pies, vegetables etc., please contact the shelter office directly at 613-257-3469 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The reality of this is: All of this is my business, your business and everyone else’s business. Maybe this year if you have a little extra you might consider providing a little happiness for someone in need. Domestic violence is an epidemic in this country — in the world, for that matter — and it can affect you, your friends, or your daughters. Lanark County Interval House is: help, hope, healing, shelter, counseling, and community support.
Text by:Linda Seccaspina
with help from the files of:
Fundraising & Volunteer Coordinator
Photo: These LCIH staff and students will be helping to organize and deliver hundreds of holiday gifts to families from across the county who the agency has supported over the past year.