Cranbrook Women’s Centre sees some uptick in support

The Cranbrook Women’s Centre is seeing a small uptick in community awareness since it sent a letter to council back in October.

The Cranbrook Women’s Centre is seeing a small uptick in community awareness since it sent a letter to council back in October asking for support. At that time, council agreed on a $300 grant to the centre for food.

Denise Stewart, coordinator for the Women’s Centre said in a letter to council that came up in the Nov. 5 meeting, that after reading an article on the topic that appeared in the Townsman she wanted to clear some things up about what the centre offers.

“The Centre is a safe, confidential, non-judgemental, drop-in centre for women,” Stewart wrote. “We offer advocacy, resource referrals, emergency supplies, free clothing store, sexual health options, computer and telephone access, and lay counselling.”

The centre receives funding from gaming grants, activities of the Friends of the Women’s Centre Committee like the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Campaign, and

community donations. Last year the centre received $8,000 less in gaming grants than the year before. Community donations were down as well, she said.

“We have had our challenges this year, and are always applying for different grants, but few offer operational funding,” she said.

At the Oct. 6 meeting, Coun. Angus Davis made an appeal to the city to help those in need.

“Since that request we have seen an increase in awareness,” Stewart said. “Barb Smyth from the Byng Restaurant is helping with a weekly food donation, another community member is organizing a Community Food Challenge, and concerned citizens are asking how they can help.”

Back at the meeting Coun. Sharon Cross asked what can be done for those going hungry in the city, as well as for the children living in different stages of starvation.

Stewart said people can help by becoming involved in the Community Initiative Poverty Reduction Plan, the Food Action Committee and donating to the various organizations throughout the year. She also mentions the Community Food Challenge that was on Nov. 3.

Stewart said the centre is also aware of the other food resources in the community and refer clients to all available resources, which include the churches, Street Angels, the Salvation Army and the Cranbrook Food Bank.

She said they also have formed partnerships with the organizations.

Unfortunately, Stewart said women can’t always access those services due to things like lack of transportation and the food bank can only be accessed once a month.

Stewart thanks council for the $300 donation for food.

“We understand this was onetime funding, and will take the city’s suggestion to apply for the grant-in-aid in the future,” she said.