THUNDER BAY, ONT – The public response was generous at a food drive to support Beendigen Inc., a native women’s crisis home and family healing agency based out of Fort William, held earlier this month on July 1st and 2nd. Hundreds of dollars of food and personal care items were donated to the drive, which was organized by the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation and the Two Row Times, and hosted at K&A Variety.
Josh Bean, Business Manager of the Two Row Times, attended the event and spoke to the giving nature of K&A Variety’s customers.
“Community members from Fort William and Thunder Bay were very generous over the two days that we were there.” Bean said.” We met a lot of great people who were more than willing to support a great cause such as this. It’s important to us that Two Row Times does what it can to shine a light on issues affecting indigenous people. This is a very important issue and hopefully we can keep the conversation going.”
The issue Bean refers to is violence against Aboriginal women in Canada .The current statistics on Aboriginal women affected by violence are staggering. According to Statistics Canada, the findings from the General Social Survey on Victimization in 2009 report that Aboriginal women were three times more likely than non-Aboriginal women to be violently victimized.
According to Jennifer Rowe from the Dreamcatcher Foundation, efforts like the food drive can be productive by both supporting local services and opening up the conversation about the grim reality faced by nearly 70,000 Aboriginal women across the country.
“The food drive for the local women’s shelter is important because it not only supports the programs that are utilized by many northern native women, it also helps raise awareness to the epidemic of high risk native women that find themselves in desperate situations.” Rowe said. “I hope that we were able to keep the conversation going regarding this important issue. It’s time to remove the shame and stigmas associated with victims of all types of violence toward our mothers, sisters and daughters. We were so moved by the generosity of the community and their willingness to donate whatever they could. We’d also like to thank the Two Row Times for all of their help during the two day event.”
Executive Director Debra Vernette expressed gratitude for the donations raised at the food drive in an email to the Two Row Times.
“Beendigen would like to thank you for your recent donation to the residents and clients of our programs and services. Your support in our work to ending violence against women is greatly appreciated.”
The Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation is a registered foundation designated to provide support and address situations unique to the First Nations community. For more information please visit www.dcfund.ca
To support Beendigen Inc., you can reach their head office at (807) 622-1121 for more information about what they may need. If you are a woman in crisis in the Thunder Bay area, please call their toll free crisis line at 1-800-200-9997.