featuring the work of young journalists from Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District High Schools
Christmas break is quickly approaching, and cold weather is quickly becoming our new normal. Our classes at St. Dominic Catholic Secondary School in Bracebridge wanted to lend a hand in our community and make a difference. Student representatives from each class collected care package items for Muskoka’s Women Shelter. We gathered fourteen boxes festively wrapped in green and red and delivered them just in time for the Christmas holiday.
Imagine having to quickly leave your home with only the clothes on your back. Unfortunately, this is the case for most women and children in shelters. Having to escape from domestic abuse as quickly as possible to find safety and shelter for your family is a sad reality for many of the women at the shelter.
We all remember the excitement of waking up on Christmas morning to see the Christmas tree surrounded by presents. And walking into the kitchen, following the smell of freshly made goodies. Most of us are lucky enough to have these memories but statistically, 7,350 women are forced to bring their children to a Violence Against Women shelter over the holidays. As we are waking up Christmas morning in matching Christmas pajamas, presents under a tree full of lights and ornaments, and families to sit around a cozy fire with, these women are often in squeaky metal beds with cold cement floors below their feet.
We all have our Christmas traditions. Cinnamon buns in the morning, putting together a secret Santa exchange, making gingerbread houses with your family and going to see the flashing Christmas lights. What if we added visiting a homeless shelter to the list of traditions? Or volunteering at a soup kitchen? Gift giving to seniors? Or what if you even put a few more boxes together and followed the tradition of St. Dominic’s and dropped off care packages to the women shelters in your community? There are so many ways to make a difference in your community during the holidays and all year long.