Latest from women’s shelter group

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Other than a break for COVID-19, the Northern Haven Support Society board has held a clothing drive in November of each year. This year, the Purple Tree of Giving is set up in the Servus Credit Union, since Nov. 19, to likely December 15th.

Purple is the colour used to raise awareness for Family Violence Prevention Month, which is November. Northern Haven runs a women’s emergency shelter, and other services for people experiencing intimate partner violence in Slave Lake and area. The shelter houses women and their children.

The purple tree was unveiled at one of the last Christmas Markets before COVID.

One year, a mother came to the tree with her young children, says Lynne Haas, NHSS board chair. Part of their Christmas shopping was to choose something to give to the children in the shelter. They were learning to give at a young age. It was something which has stuck with Haas since it happened.

In 2020, Northern Haven did not have a Christmas drive, so is getting a bit short on supplies, adds Haas. Two of the items which are needed are pajamas and underwear, but people can donate anything that a woman and her children might need or want.

Northern Haven also accepts money. This can be dropped off in a box at the Credit Union or submitted online through Canada Helps.

Canada Helps is “a registered charity and social enterprise,” says Haas. It helps small charities by handling donations and writing tax receipts.

In December, Northern Haven will be 25.

“The support here has been just phenomenal for this women’s shelter,” says Haas. “And we couldn’t do it without them and of course great staff.”

Northern Haven started out raising awareness about domestic violence and opened the women’s shelter 12 years ago. There are board members and staff who have been involved for 10 or more years.

“This just tells you of the dedication to women and children in need,” says Haas. Other than two staff members and a few board members, “everyone else is kept under wraps for their own protection.”

Therefore, the anniversary celebration will not include a public recognition of long-term employees and volunteers. They are recognized behind the scenes.

The 25th anniversary party is on January 22 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Northern Star Hotel in Slave Lake.

The anniversary party is wine, cheese, and desserts. There’s also a silent auction and two speakers. Like most in-person events COVID-19 vaccination is required as well as social distancing. It is limited to 120 tickets.