'Help us help our community': South Okanagan Women in Need Society feeling donation crunch amid inflation

SOWINS: 'Help us help'

Casey Richardson

Donations for the South Okanagan Women in Need Society are sorely needed, as increased prices and inflation challenge supply for families in need.

SOWINS is partway through their second annual Have a Heart Radiothon, chosen by Bell Media once again as the recipient.

Liz Gomes, SOWINS executive director, said they cannot keep up with the demand on their services without these fundraisers.

"We're the only service in the South Okanagan that offers safe shelter and support services for women and children," she added.

Recently the transition house and counsellor waitlist have seen growing numbers.

"Our fundraisers go towards supplementing our programs. So for example, we often will use it towards hiring an additional counsellor to reduce wait times for people and just basically keeping up with the inflation of costs, making sure that the families that stay at our transition house have healthy nutritious foods and things like that," Gomes added.

"Food security is, of course, a big strain on everybody right now. So our donations help towards making sure we have some emergency food items for people to have some warm coats and toiletries, and just those kind of essentials for folks who even just dropped by here."

With fuel and food costs increasing, donations stretch thinner than before.

"We really do you need community support, to help us help our community members. I know that everyone knows someone who's been impacted by domestic violence — they may not know it — but they have been," Gomes said.

"Domestic violence, it impacts more than just the individual and their family. It really impacts the whole community. And it's important that our community supports them. Let them know they're not alone and help provide resources so that they can move forward in having a healthy safe life."

The goal for this year’s Have a Heart Radiothon is $25,000, but the team at SOWINS and Bell Media Group are hoping to beat it.

"We continue to hear how necessary we are, how needed we are in the community and that really makes me really happy that people know who we are, and know what we do. Our goal is that everybody knows what SOWINS does."

With years working at SOWINS herself, Gomes said seeing the children they have helped now as young adults, having their own young families and leading healthy productive lives is really, really rewarding.

"It's nice to hear those stories of success and we know that everyone's success looks different and we're here to support them throughout their journey and where they are and help them as best we can," she added.

Join SOWINS on Friday, March 8 — International Women’s Day — at Cherry Lane Shopping Centre, where they will be accepting donations from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Anyone who wishes to donate can also do so online here. Right now, donations will be doubled.

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