A month-long fundraiser by the local Shoppers Drug Mart’s is ending with a donation to Waypoints.
Locations across Canada took part in their “Tree of Life campaign” where customers were asked to donate to their local women’s shelter. This year they were able to donate just over $28,000.
Executive Director of Waypoints Michele Taylor tells Mix News the money will be going towards operations at their current Shelter, Unity House.
“They could be fleeing domestic violence, they could in crisis, or it could be a short-term housing issue.”
Taylor adds these donations are very important to their day-day operations.
She notes Alberta compared to other Province’s has a much higher domestic violence rate. Research has been done showing a rise in cases after a community faces a natural disaster like a wildfire.
“Research tells us that there is quite a delay in people starting to access services. Where we are seeing an increase is in the hospital emergency room,” said Taylor.
Taylor says shortly after re-entry they were in talks with Wood Buffalo RCMP who reported multiple domestic abuse cases, these numbers have since come back down, comparing to pre-fire.
She adds they’re predicting a rise in cases at their shelter around May, one year after the events of the past spring.
The money raised comes shortly after Waypoints was able to get a land sale to construct a new, bigger shelter in the Timberlea area.
“It will be a much better design than our current shelter which was built in the early 80’s and for a much smaller population,” said Taylor.
The new shelter will add more one-room beds, allowing more families to stay together while ensuring more women aren’t turned away.
“Currently we have nine bunk rooms with 36 beds in them, so what unfortunately happens if a family comes in and takes up three of six beds, we have to right off the rest of the three beds,” added Taylor. With our new design, there is only one bed per bedroom which means we can add accompanying bedrooms and connect them to make a family module but we don’t have to ever right a bed off.”
The hope is to have construction started on the new shelter by April.