Give Me Shelter prepares for 16th year helping victims of domestic violence

Domestic violence in Alberta and Give Me Shelter campaign
WATCH ABOVE: Pat Garrett, the shelter director for WINGS of Providence, talks about the issue of domestic violence, the supports available and the Give Me Shelter campaign.

This holiday season, thousands of women and children will flee their homes to escape domestic violence and find a safe space at one of the Edmonton and area Women’s Shelters.

The 16th annual Global News Give Me Shelter campaign strives to provide much-needed items and Christmas gifts for women and kids during those difficult times, as well as thousands of dollars in donations.

READ MORE: Shelters on the front lines help women flee violence — but they’re also in crisis

The 2019 Global News Give Me Shelter campaign
The 2019 Global News Give Me Shelter campaign Global News

The most needed items are:

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  • Gift cards
  • Toiletries: deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrushes, body wash, lotion, feminine products
  • Unwrapped gifts: toys for all ages and genders, gift sets for women, new pajamas for kids

WATCH:  Every year an Edmonton woman knits dozens of teddy bears for Global’s Give Me Shelter campaign, and this year she donated 54 bears. Erin Chalmers reports

Edmonton woman knits dozens of teddy bears for Give Me Shelter campaign
Edmonton woman knits dozens of teddy bears for Give Me Shelter campaign

Donations are shared among WIN House, WINGS of Providence, A Safe Place, LaSalle Shelter and Lurana Shelter.

“Family violence is increasing. We are needed more than ever to provide safety and support to women fleeing domestic violence,” said WINGS of Providence’s executive director Patricia Garrett. “They need that long-term support to heal and move forward with their lives. It’s really difficult for folks to do that on their own.”

READ MORE: Broken: A Global News series on Canada’s ongoing failure to end violence against women

WINGS has been a part of Give Me Shelter for all 16 years of the initiative. Garrett said without community support, they could not provide women and children with the resources they desperately need.

“These families aren’t used to people caring about them or what happens to them. This is a way to show we support these families and we want them to do well,” Garrett said. “We hear how much the support helped women move forward in their lives. Sometimes those women want to give back to the women currently living at WINGS. They want them to know there is hope, that things can get better, that they can be safe.”

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READ MORE: Are you experiencing abuse? Here’s how to get help

Garrett said a tough economy can impact the number of domestic violence incidents.

“I think the economy could be a factor. There’s a lot of stress in the home, a lot of financial pressure. If people aren’t working, that can compound the pressures in a relationship.”

READ MORE: Crisis calls to Alberta women’s shelters up 10% in 2 years

The Give Me Shelter campaign was started in 2004 by former Global Edmonton news anchor and current Vancouver CKNW radio host Lynda Steele.

“I got a news release from one of the women’s shelters…it was this ‘ah-ha’ moment. It hadn’t occurred to me that at Christmastime when we are all excited and buying presents, there are a bunch of people out of their homes in really stressful situations,” Steele said. “I said to myself, ‘I wonder if Global viewers would jump on board with me?’ So I said, ‘If you want to help me out, you can bring this stuff to Global.’ It all took off and it was a beautiful thing.”

How ‘Give Me Shelter’ has grown in the last 16 years
How ‘Give Me Shelter’ has grown in the last 16 years

Steele said she’s proud that Global Edmonton staff and viewers have kept the campaign thriving after 16 years.

“This little tiny campaign began with a couple of people coming in. Then we were filling up the lobby…then the whole bottom area of the studio. It really grew into this sense of togetherness,” Steele said. “I heard so many stories from the women’s shelters how Give Me Shelter made life a little bit brighter, a little bit easier. A shelter is not a fun place to be at Christmastime, especially for kids.”

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Donations can be dropped off between Monday, Nov. 18 and Friday, Dec. 13 at Global Edmonton (5325 Allard Way NW, just off Calgary Trail and 51 Avenue).

They can also be dropped off at any of these Royal Pizza or Shippers Supply locations:

  • Old Strathcona (10433 80 Avenue)
  • Blue Quill (290 Saddleback Road)
  • Mill Woods (2609 66 Street NW)
  • West End (9977 178 Street)
  • Ottewell (6120 90 Avenue)
  • Newcastle Centre (16721 127 Street)
  • Ellerslie (1214 101 Street SW)
  • Sherwood Park Baseline (590 Baseline Road)
  • Leduc (7712 Sparrow Drive)
  • Spruce Grove (98 Longview Drive)
  • Hys Centre (11010 101 Street NW)
  • Fort Saskatchewan (37 Westpark Blvd)
  • Hamptons (20024 Lessard Road)
  • Edmonton South East (5219 47 Street NW)
  • Edmonton West (17808 116 Avenue NW)

READ MORE: Increased funding for Alberta’s women’s shelters having impact but more needed: Shelter executives

Global Edmonton ‘Give Me Shelter’ delivery day
Global Edmonton ‘Give Me Shelter’ delivery day