June 1, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot about our lives. One thing it hasn’t changed is the need for help and support in our community.
Calgary Co-op is working with local community groups and agencies to provide additional support during these uncertain times through the Calgary Co-op Cares program. One of the organizations that’s benefitting is the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, a frontline agency providing hope and support to women, children, youth, and men impacted by family violence and abuse in our community.
“In times of crisis, incidents of family violence and abuse can increase, and there is higher demand for our services,” says Kim Ruse, CEO of the agency, “We remain open and have refocused our resources to add capacity to answer more calls, and have also created new text and email features to provide additional ways for people to reach out.”
The organization’s 24-hour Family Violence Helpline is always available at 403-234-7233 (SAFE). Now it is also possible to send a text to 403-604-6689, or e-mail email@example.com . Interpreters are also available.
“With social distancing and self-isolation, it’s more difficult for victims to make a phone call to our Helpline or ask for help from someone they know. There is less privacy with everyone being home and fewer opportunities to leave the house, putting victims and their families at greater risk. With these new options, people can reach out without alerting anyone else in the home.”
Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter is truly ‘More than a Shelter’. Though the 50-bed Emergency Shelter is the cornerstone of the agency, providing safe and secure accommodation, basic essential items, counselling and support is also of critical importance and many of these programs are still operational during COVID-19.
“It is important to remember that these agencies need us now more than ever,” says Sage Pullen McIntosh, Communications Director at Calgary Co-op. “That is why we’re banding together with our members and the community to support these organizations during this challenging time.”
The Calgary Co-op Cares program was launched this month. The initiative sees Calgary Co-op matching online customer donations up to $25,000 and the money will go to six local charities: the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, Seniors’ Resource Society, Calgary Food Bank, Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, Meals on Wheels and The Mustard Seed.
“We are grateful to Calgary Co-op and its customers,” says Ruse. “We rely on the generosity of the community to help us keep those impacted by family violence and abuse safe during this critical time.”
A little over thirteen months ago, a worldwide pandemic changed most of our lives dramatically.
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While we have all seen significant changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, many community organizations have faced substantial challenges and dealt with massive organizational change.