Community support means a lot to victims of abuse

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Liz Pierce of Providence and Janis Taylor of Sprucedale United Church stand with Karen Hunter, Executive Director of Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre, right, with the 15 baskets of cleaning supplies and personal items collected by the church congregation as part of their Outreach Program to help the community.

The congregation at Sprucedale United Church and Providence United Church have been busy collecting supplies for Fresh Start baskets being donated to the Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre.

The Faith in Action Committee of the combined churches collected 15 baskets with $75 to $100 worth of personal care and cleaning supplies as part of its Outreach Project for the month of April. Committee chair Lynn Belbeck said the committee works on a different project each month to help groups with needs in the community such as Outreach for Hunger and Canadian Food for Children, and others.

For next month, Belbeck said the churches are working on a garden project to help kids connect with nature and see where food comes from and what it looks like before it ends up on their plate.

The supplies collected for April will be given to women ready to leave the shelter and make a new start and the baskets help offset some of the costs associated with starting fresh in a new location. Belbeck said items such as kitchen and bathroom cleaners and personal hygiene products can really add up and divert money women need for rent and food.

Karen Hunter, Executive Director of the Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre, was on hand to accept the donation, and said it was a huge help to women and children starting back out in the community, and reminds them they are not alone.

“You don’t know what it means to these women to receive this kind of gift. It says that the community cares with open and generous people,” Hunter said. “That means a great deal to them.”

Hunter said the over $1,000 worth of products donated are something the CKWC can’t afford to provide out of its budget. The women, she added, who often flee abusive situations with nothing more than the clothes on their back, also can use the money they might have spent on cleaning supplies on important items for themselves or their family like food, rent and medicine.

“We have six ladies ready to go who will be able to use these baskets in the next week,” Hunter said of the timely donation.

The CKWC is always appreciative of donations of clothes, food and supplies for women and their families and said they are always looking for school supplies at all times of the year, because things like backpacks are left behind when children have to leave suddenly for their safety.

“Our food budget is skyrocketing right now because we are filled to capacity and have been for the last year and half,” Hunter added.

Donations of non-perishable food items are always appreciated, along with seasonal clothes needed for this spring and summer.

For more information about the Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre and how you can help, go to ckwc.ca. If you need help to leave an abusive situation, call the 24-hour crisis lines at 519-354-6360 or 1-800-265-0598.

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