We are so incredibly grateful for the support from the community in our work with women and their families over this past year. Here are a few highlights from 2013 we would like to share with you:
Trauma and Abuse Support Groups
We have successfully offered "A Healing Journey" a support group for women who have experienced trauma and abuse to 35 participants in the downtown Toronto and surrounding area.
We have had three locations where we have been able to offer this program: Elizabeth Fry Society, Christian Community Church (in partnership with Yonge Street Mission) and Frontlines Ministries. These community partners believe in our work and have offered the use of their offices for running these free programs to women at-risk in their communities.
The Women's Chaplaincy Summer Retreat was held July 5-7 at the beautiful
Five Oaks Retreat Centre in Paris, ON.
Our long-awaited annual retreat for women was a wonderful time this year. This year our theme was "Coming Home, Sharing Our Stories"
The purpose of our retreat is to rest, renew and listen for the voice of our Creator through silence, nature and the company of community. We gave women the opportunity to pray and rest in silence and fellowship with one another throughout the weekend.
The women went out into the beautiful grounds at Five Oaks and, along with our borrowed digital cameras from various volunteers, captured incredible photos of God's creation.
Fall Backpack Program - Sept 2013
Our annual backpack program was a huge success this fall. We were able to assist 75 families by providing new, good-quality backpacks, lunch bags, school supplies and healthy snacks for their children.
Christmas Basket Program - 2013
We were pleased to offer Christmas support to 60 families this past year. Each basket provided families with grocery store gift cards, stockings, chocolates, baking and a gift for every adult and child within the family. The community chaplain and our volunteers hand-delivered these baskets and spent time with each family over these past two weeks in December.
We have distributed over 100 Welcome Home kits to women recently released from prison. These kits provide women with toiletries, towels, socks, slippers and a gift card for Tim Horton's to help with their transition back into the community. The kits are also a good way to meet new women and refer them to our various programs and retreats.
We are so grateful for the generous contribution of prayer, financial support, gifts and most of all friendship provided by our growing community of partners and volunteers. You make this work possible for the women who attend our programs.
Please continue to keep the women in your prayers as we work to sustain this important program in our community.
Best wishes for a blessed Christmas;
Community Chaplain with Women