The public this Christmas season has an opportunity to help provide gifts for a Delta transition house for women and their children fleeing violence.
“Even though the world has changed and we will not be able to have our annual Christmas Reunion Celebration in quite the same way this year, we have begun to pull together some creative ideas for Christmas and hope that many of you are interested in helping us this year. The opportunity to bring a sense of Christmas to many women and children who are in need and struggling to make ends meet returns an amazing blessing to those who give. The stories of what simple gifts can mean is both heartwarming and inspiring,” wrote Lorrie Wasyliw, executive director with Azure Place.
W.I.N.G.S. (Women in Need Gaining Strength) opened Delta’s first transition house in 2017 in North Delta.
It’s a first stage transition house by the organization, which also provides transition house services in New Westminster.
Prior to the pandemic, Azure Place was working at capacity, but was able to expand its number of beds from eight to 12.
Transition homes provide emotional support, crisis intervention, safety planning and temporary accommodation.
First stage home stays typically last 30 days. The facilities provide help accessing support services and housing, financial, medical, counseling and legal assistance.
In collaboration with a North Delta church, W.I.N.G.S. last year began using a spare house on the church property for second stage housing, where vulnerable women and children can stay for up to a year.
The current Christmas plan is to have a staggered open house event where women and children can come at different times to get a gift and have a short social visit with appropriate physical distancing.
Wasyliw said they will be assembling gift bags for approximately 60-to-75 women and children who have been through Azure Place to ensure that each one will have a Christmas present.
They will be reducing the size and quantity of Christmas gifts they are able to give this year, and have a list of those items they feel would be most useful and practical to put into the bags.
Items for women’s gifts bags can include warm socks, hand/body lotion, small bottles of hand sanitizer, lip balm, warm hats and gloves and gift cards such as Starbucks or Tim Hortons cards. Gift bags for kids can also include gift cards, such as movie theatre or McDonald’s cards, as well as toys and winter hats, mitts and gloves.
Of particular need are gift cards for preteens and teenagers.
All items for Christmas bags need to be dropped off by Monday, Nov. 30th. The drop off places for gifts are Cedar Park Church, 5300 44th Ave. in Ladner, and St. Cuthbert's Anglican Church, 11601 82 Ave., in North Delta.
They will also provide Christmas hampers for Azure Place families who they know are in need of assistance at this time of year with food and/or presents.
They also have an annual needs list for ongoing items to keep up with the demand for services as they strive to provide as cheerful a home for women and children as possible.
Delta council this week agreed to provide $2,000 for Azure Place’s gift program.
For more information, contact Azure Place House Coordinator Priscilla at email@example.com or 604-957-1556, or Christmas project coordinator Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-521-1888.