With the holiday season upon us and the dash to shopping centres and online shopping begins, Calgary-based Women In Need Society (WINS) is encouraging Calgarians to think local and remember those less fortunate.
WINS is a local charitable organization that was founded in 1992 and provides basic needs goods to women in poverty and their families. They operate five large successful family thrift stores, a donation centre, a Free Goods Referral Program, five Family Resource Centres and a Retail Ready employment service.
Every year, more than 5,000 Calgary women are supported on their quest to emerge from poverty every year through WINS’ community programs. The number of resources, programs and services requested of WINS by Calgarians continues to rise every year due to economic challenges in the city.
Calgarians can support WINS in one of five ways:
- Make a cash donation
Visit www.winsyyc.com and give generously. WINS gladly accepts one-time or monthly contributions, and a little can go a long way. For example, a contribution of just $25 can provide head-to-toe winter wear for a child, who may be experiencing their first winter in Canada. A gift of $500 will furnish an entire suite for a woman leaving a shelter and starting a new life.
- Fill a Handbag
Have a purse or two you no longer use? Handbags with Heart encourages Calgarians to upcycle a gently-used purse or handbag filled with toiletries and small goods for a woman in need. Filled handbags can be dropped at any WINS family thrift store until December 15.
- Volunteer Your Time
WINS welcomes individuals and groups to help at their donation centre. It’s a great way for corporate groups, friends or family members to give a few hours of their time. Contact WINS for details.
- Shop Our Stores
WINS has five Calgary-area thrift stores with great items! Shopping thrift is good for your wallet and good for the environment. Every year, WINS upcycling programs help divert more than a million pounds from local landfills. Revenues generated from WINS stores cover 83% of the organization’s program and service costs, which directly benefit and support Calgary’s most vulnerable women.
- Donate Gently Used Items – Especially Winter Wear
As you prepare your closet and home for holiday gifts, consider donating gently used items, particularly winter coats, hats, boots and warm clothing. Winter can be hard in Calgary, particularly for those who don’t have the funds to purchase a proper winter coat for themselves or their children.
A tough local economy affects everyone, and WINS has to work extra hard when the economy isn’t doing well. Says Karen Ramchuk, Executive Director of WINS, “In 2018, we had to temporarily close our resource centres due to a spike in demand and a lack of funds. Calgary rallied and today we are in a better place, but we need to continue to work hard to care for the most vulnerable women and children in our community.” She continues, “These women are often starting new lives for themselves and their families – whether emerging from an unstable country, leaving an abusive situation or needing a fresh start. They are motivated and strong, and our support makes their lives safe, secure and hopeful.”
When you give to WINS, Calgary WINS. Please visit www.winsyyc.com.