Something as casual as an email exchange highlights how every dollar is meaningful and maximized at Regina’s Women’s Shelter.
For example, I recently sent an electronic message to Stephanie Taylor, Executive Director of Regina Transition House.
The Regina Transition House and three other women’s shelters in the Queen City (SOFIA House, WISH Safe House and YWCA Regina’s Isabel Johnson Shelter) are long-term beneficiaries of the fund.
Shortly after contact with Taylor began, a time was set for a telephone interview. Early in our chat, she mentioned that there was a problem with her Regina Transition House email account. The problems she pointed out were hardly new.
The reflexive response is very likely to be “Okay, fix it!”
If it were that simple…
To adequately address this problem, time and money must be diverted away from the women and children who desperately need help during the crisis.
“We have technical issues and we have a lot of issues,” Taylor said. “It would be great to have our own IT people, but in this environment we can’t afford it. We are generally very thrifty.
“We have to find a way to provide service even when email and the Internet are not working.”
This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that despite everyone’s tireless efforts, far more people need services than the four women’s shelters can accommodate.
At the time of the phone chat, 71 women’s names were on the waiting list. and the resource remains the same.
If your computer is down, some information must be processed manually. This may relate to information collected during the acceptance process, or forms completed when families leave the shelter and settle in a safer environment.
“Sometimes you have to go back to the old ways,” lamented Taylor. “It’s not easy, it’s not efficient, but it has to be done.
“And when you’re back online, you’ll have to enter all that information back into your computer.”
This is a minor inconvenience compared to the situation faced by families trying to escape dangerous home environments, often in the middle of the night or in the middle of winter.
This is an ever-growing problem. Saskatchewan has a particularly high incidence of domestic violence. This problem is frustratingly unsolvable and predates the computer age.
“I don’t know how they used to store all this information,” thought Taylor. “It would have required a lot more paperwork. Until the last few years, people’s information remained on cue cards and was stored there until it could all be entered into a database.
“We have an electronic waiting list that grows every month. Some names have been on the list since the summer, but it’s not because we let people sit there. We are always checking to see if they still need help.”
Priority is given to the most urgent situations.
“Right now, we’re evaluating by risk,” says Taylor. “It doesn’t matter if the mother has children or not, it matters how safe she is. Many women come from very dangerous life-or-death situations.”
So any small amount, such as the money generated by the Christmas cheer, will help.
We recognize that budgets and resources are scarce for the average citizen, as we are in the women’s shelter.The pandemic has taken its toll. So is inflation. Prices are rising everywhere you look.
Still, last year’s Christmas Cheer Fund campaign raised $152,687.31.
This is a 24.2% increase from the 2020 total of $123,137 and a 31.8% improvement from 2019 ($116,015.29).
The 2018 Christmas Cheer campaign generated $90,016.20. Three years later, his total has increased by nearly 70%.
Once upon a time, all donations were accepted and managed manually. But now, well, there are online options…
■ Donate online at Leaderpost.com/cheerfund.
■ Send check to: South Saskatchewan Community Foundation, Attn: Christmas Cheer Fund, 1911 Broad St., Regina, SK, S4P 1Y1. Please include “Christmas Cheer Fund” on the check memo and pay the check to SSCF.
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