One thing that has remained tragically consistent during this pandemic has been the volume of calls and the need for shelter for those fleeing gender-based violence in the community.
About 100 people were expected to gather at Mapleview Community Church on Saturday for the Walk A Mile In Her Shoes event, one of the largest fundraisers hosted by the Women & Children’s Shelter of Barrie. Due to COVID-19, there was a limit on the number of people who could attend. The event also drew support from first responders including Barrie Fire and Police. The goal is to raise $50,000.
@Barrie_Fire #Station5 – you are incredible!! Thank you for outstanding service and generosity to the @Barrieshelter. It took a lot not to bear hug you all today!!! @MainprizeCory @cityofbarrie – this is a stellar team. #Barrie pic.twitter.com/cO5fJDVvqy— Ann-Marie Kungl (personal account) (@annmariekungl) September 11, 2021
“We have 27 beds in our shelter,” says Katie Taylor, Development Manager. “That is the number we have, but we can have anywhere up to 35 women.”
Today, @mapleviewc #BarriePolice was proud to participate in #WalkaMileinHerShoes in support of the @Barrieshelter and working to empowerment women and children in our community. #GreatCommunityPartners #CommittedToOurCommunity pic.twitter.com/Lhy22uzseR— Barrie Police (@BarriePolice) September 11, 2021
However, the high-end figure cannot happen right now due to COVID.
“We are unable to double people up in rooms, which prior to COVID is what we would do to just be able to accommodate the women,” says Taylor. “It’s horrible to have to turn women and their children away from shelter when they do need emergency help.”
In those situations, shelter staff will create a safety plan for the individual(s), or try to get the women and children into a shelter within Simcoe County or where space is available.
Taylor says the call volume has increased during the pandemic. The nature of the calls, adds Taylor, have also intensified.
The Women and Children’s Shelter needs to fundraise $350,000 a year just to keep the lights on and the doors open.