Local women’s shelter staff unveiled their “Wrapped in Courage” campaign Tuesday at the office of MPP Rick Nicholls.
Hal Bushey and Angela Corso, executive director and programs manager with the Chatham-Kent Women’s Shelter respectively, wrapped a purple scarf around Nicholls’ neck and sought his support.
The Chatham-Kent Essex MPP said he’s behind he initiative.
“The work the women’s centre has done in this community is second to none,” he said. “The passion of the people involved, I really admire.”
Bushey said the purple scarf campaign is a province-wide initiative. It is intended to increase awareness and raise funds as well.
“There has been no increase in funding (for women’s shelters in Ontario) since 2006,” he said. “Fifty-five per cent of shelters in Ontario had to turn women away in the past year. And 95% of them are at 84% capacity or higher.”
Bushey said Chatham is close to that level.
In the past year, the Chatham shelter has helped more than 1,400 women and four men, he said, operating with very tight purse strings.
“We are under tremendous pressure,” Bushey said. “This year, we had to raise $77,000 just to keep the lights on.”
On Nov. 25, women’s shelters around the province are delivering the funding message to Queen’s Park.
The scarves are selling well locally, Bushey said. He picked up 50 of the scarves in late October and soon ran out. He grabbed another 200 and said about half of them have already been sold.
The scarves are $12 each and are available at the women’s shelter on Sandys Street, as well as at The Tea Connection and Bondy’s Dry Cleaners.
“They make great Christmas gifts,” said Corso.