Fresh start for 20 women fleeing abuse in Penticton area
The Rotary Club of Penticton earmarked $10,000 for hope chests for SOWINS’ clients
Twenty women fleeing abuse in the Penticton area are getting a hand-up from the South Okanagan Women in Need Society (SOWINS), thanks to a generous donation by the Rotary Club of Penticton.
The club earmarked $10,000 for the non-profit society in order to build 20 hope chests or starter kits for women who are starting over after leaving their home. Debbie Scarborough, executive director of SOWINS, explained that these kits contain much more than just the necessary items for the women, and possibly their children, to get by.
“What it’s going to is women that are finally getting free from abuse, that have permanent and safe, affordable housing, they often walk away with nothing. Sometimes when we leave from home, we have a hope chest,” said Scarborough. “These women did not have that opportunity so the Rotary is giving them a hope chest. And it’s more than that because it’s giving them hope, because someone is supporting them on their journey.”
Natalie Ferebee, president of the Rotary Club of Penticton, and club member Lori Lalonde have already assembled and delivered six of the boxes to the club, which contain items such as dishes, bedding, cleaning supplies and other home essentials. Scarborough said three of the boxes have already been earmarked for specific clients and three will be kept on-hand at the society’s administration office.
“Everything that we raise through the Rotary Club, we give back to the community. So SOWINS being one of them is huge, because it helps our community members to start their new life, and then hopefully come join our Rotary,” said Ferebee. “If they want to do the same thing for others, then that’s another way they can give back to the community.”
All three women agreed that starting from scratch and furnishing a home in these instances can be extremely costly and that these kits would make all the difference in the lives of the women and children that SOWINS helps. Scarborough said the society currently serves 3,400 women and children a year and she’s seen the desperate circumstances they’ve been forced into.
“I know women that will go into public washrooms and take as much as the toilet paper as they can, because it’s costly. When you think of you and I, we just add toilet paper on our grocery list,” said Scarborough. “We know women that will share one bowl and one plate with their children. Pillows are a luxury, they sleep on the floor.”
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Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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