Photo: Stephanie Klassen with the donation from Joni at the Survivors Hope office in Pinawa. These will be distributed to local food banks over the weeks to come. Image credit: Stephanie Klassen
Submitted by Candice Perry, Survivors Hope
Survivor’s Hope Crisis Centre is the only rural sexual violence resource centre in all of Manitoba and they are partnering with community food banks to support the communities they serve in a new way during this time of economic slowdown.
“We recognize that the COVID-19 lockdown has put a lot of people out of work and families will be relying on food banks more than before” says Candice Perry, Reaching Out Coordinator for Survivor’s Hope. “We want to support our communities by helping to meet some immediate and basic needs.”
Survivor’s Hope will be sharing menstrual products with numerous local food banks and community resources thanks to the generosity of a social enterprise in BC called joni, which matches every purchase with a donation. Joni produces menstrual pads that are unbleached and biodegradable, making them a choice that is good for bodies and for the earth.
“Menstrual products can be expensive and are not always available at food banks,” says Stephanie Klassen, Executive Director of Survivors Hope. “These products are a necessity that is often overlooked and without them, the folks who menstruate miss out. We want to support the full participation of women and girls in society by making sure this need is met.”
Klassen said when she first contacted joni, the company was excited. “We asked about purchasing a few hundred boxes and they offered to match our purchase with donations and then some on top of that! We now have 1320 boxes of pads to share!”
Donations will be distributed to community food banks across north eastern Manitoba over the coming weeks. Information flyers about the increased risk of intimate violence during COVD-19 and the support available through Survivors Hope and Nova House, the shelter for survivors of intimate partner violence in Selkirk, will also be included. Nova House has launched a text line where a domestic violence counsellor can be reached 24/7 by texting 204-805-6682.
“There has been a worldwide increase in reports of violence at home. There is a lot of concern about isolation and violence in the home escalating as everyone is asked to stay at home,” said Klassen. “If there is an abusive person in the home, home is not always the safest place. We want to remind folks that there are local resources that are ready to help 24/7.”
Survivor’s Hope Crisis Centre provides crisis intervention, support, and information to survivors and secondary victims of sexualized violence in north-eastern Manitoba. They run workshops in schools throughout the region that aim to prepare youth for strong, healthy, and respectful relationships. They also offer crisis counselling support and information in their Pinawa office and that support is now available exclusively over the phone or via email. For more information, visit www.survivors-hope.ca or call 204-753-5353.