The Castlegar and District Community Services Society (CDCSS) needs help meeting the need this holiday season.
The CDCSS offers a number of services for families, women, youth and seniors, including a program for children who witness abuse, which costs an average of $1665 per child, and a Safe Home, where the cost for an average 45-day stay is $4320.
It’s estimated that every year in Canada 362,000 children witness or experience family violence, and across Canada over 3,000 women along with their dependent 2,900 children are living in an emergency shelter to escape abuse.
Unfortunately, domestic abuse is likely to be worse during the holidays. According to numerous studies, domestic violence against women can increase as much as 30 per cent this time of year.
While not all of the CDCSS’s clients are dealing with domestic violence, Kristein Johnson, executive director of the CDCSS, says they do see increased activity over the holidays.
“Certainly we receive more phone calls,” she says.
While staff at the CDCSS don’t have specific statistics on how many people they help during the holidays, they estimate that 7,000 people come through their doors every year.
Those wishing to access the CDCSS’s services can contact their offices at 250-365-2104 and find out more at cdcss.ca.
Those wishing to donate can do so in person or by mail at 1007 Second St., Castlegar, BC, V1N 1Y4, or online at cdcss.ca.
The CDCSS accepts cash donations as well as gift cards.
“Gift cards are always welcome because we hand them out to families as they come in stressed about Christmas,” said Johnson.
They also accept new hats, mitts, scarves and socks, gifts for children, parents and seniors, and toiletries like shampoo and conditioner.
The Black Rooster is also doing a fundraiser for the CDCSS on Monday, Dec. 21.
A dollar from every meal will go to the CDCSS and the Black Rooster will then match each dollar.
“If we serve 150 meals, we’ll take a dollar from the meals and the Rooster will match that, so $300,” says Michelle Hansen, general manager. “Just depends on how many meals we have.”
Hansen says even customers who come in just to order a drink will be contributing.
The Black Rooster also has fundraising jars out where you can make a donation and Brittany Scott, front end supervisor has gone around town challenging other restaurants to participate.
“The [Thirsty] Duck took some jars, and the Grand Buddha [Bistro], and the Lions Head [Pub],” said Hansen. “So they’ve got jars out for the two weeks too.”
On top of that, the Black Rooster is also sponsoring a family for Christmas.
“We’re just trying to get out to the community how tough it is this time of year for some families and it’s great that our community is so good with getting involved,” says Scott. “Like we’ve had good feedback from all the other businesses and there’s been numerous businesses around town that have taken posters, and we really appreciate that. And just to put it out there to other people too, I don’t think a lot of people are aware of the stressful-ness of this time of year, that they can also sponsor a family.”
There’s also a Christmas tree at the Element where a donation to the CDCSS can be made by purchasing an ornament for the tree.
For those willing to make a contribution beyond Christmas, the CDCSS always need more volunteers.
“Certainly in our seniors program, [we need] volunteers to do friendly visits, shovel snow,” explains Johnson. “And definitely if somebody would be interested in volunteering on our board of directors, that’s always welcome as well. We’re always looking for individuals who want to give back.”