Lisa Gervais: Let’s accept the challenge
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | February 9, 2017|
There’s a half-page ad on page 9 of today’s Highlander we’d like you to look at.
It all started back on Dec. 8, 2016, when a Ms. Jennifer Cureton, director of philanthropy and communications for the YWCA – Peterborough/Haliburton, appeared on a Minden Hills council agenda with a request for financial assistance to support shelter services in the County of Haliburton.
She didn’t actually show up on that snowy Thursday. A winter storm kept her away. However her written presentation was posted to the Minden Hills website. We had a look.
It was troubling. We found out that YWCA HERS (Haliburton Emergency Rural SafeSpace) had been closed from November 2015 to March 2016 due to lack of funds.
That means there was no Minden-based shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence for five months. They could still access other services, and be referred to out-of-town shelters, but could not get help in their – and our – own community. The presentation projected worse: beyond 2016-2017, the YWCA will not be able to continue to support women at a level that meets their needs, without additional funding from the community.
They require $120,000 to sustain their Haliburton County operations for the next two years while working on a long-term sustainability plan. They’ve raised about $90,000 of that, so still have $30,000 to go.
We reported all of this around Christmas, hoping the story wouldn’t be lost in the season.
It wasn’t. In fact, Haliburton resident Susan Hay read about the plight of the YWCA. She was so moved that she and husband Keith decided to donate an extremely generous $10,000. Keith further figured they could match community donations dollar-for-dollar to pump a full $20,000 into the Y’s coffers. Cureton eventually made it to a Minden Hills council meeting on Jan. 26. The council pledged $5,000 to be split over two years. She is continuing to make her municipal rounds.
Today’s page 9 ad is all about getting the Y over the line.
It explains how when you support the Y between Feb. 12 and Mar. 31, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar by the Hays up to $10,000.
There are four easy ways to give: fill out the form in our paper and mail it with your cheque or credit card information; call the Y at 705-286-1942; donate online at www.ywcapeterborough.org; or plan, or attend, an event. For example, you could invite a group of friends over for dinner and ask them to each contribute $10 or $20. That money will then be matched by the Hays.
Cureton isn’t joking when she says even a loonie helps. A loonie becomes a toonie.
Those who say this essential service is a provincial responsibility, or that our councils shouldn’t have to shell out unbudgeted taxpayer funds for what might be someone else’s shortsightedness, are absolutely correct. It’s a disgrace that funding essential family services is falling on small communities with few resources.
And hopefully those same people realize that these concerns, valid as they are, can’t be a priority. Right now, people in our community are in need, some desperately. We can help and we must help. Like the proverbial leaky boat, we can worry about who’s properly responsible when the situation is stabilized.
As a community, let’s accept the challenge and turn the Hays’ generous donation of $10,000 into $20,000, so the YWCA can continue to help women and children living with domestic violence here at home.
Lisa Gervais is the editor for The Highlander.