Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Shoppers Drug Mart as part of the SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. Growing Women’s Health campaign. As always, all opinions are my own.
As women, we are used to being the caregivers of those around us. We are the first line of support when our families are sick or in a bad place. Unfortunately, all that care sometimes comes at the expense of our health. Shoppers Drug Mart has brought back their SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. Growing Women’s Health campaign back for its 17th year.
Many women often neglect their own health to prioritize others. In fact, research shows 74% of Canadian women say they put the needs of others ahead of their own. The 17th annual Shoppers LOVE. YOU. campaign runs from October 6 to November 2. It will support more than 500 unique local women’s health charities in cities and towns across Canada with 100% of proceeds going to selected charities.
When you visit your local Shoppers, you can purchase a “leaf” for a toonie, a “butterfly” for $5, an “apple” for $10 and a “bird” for $50. The icons are prominently displayed on the Growing Women’s Health Tree in all participating stores. Plus, each store chooses a local charity where the money will go, keeping the donations in the community where they are given.
One of the charities chosen in Calgary is Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter. I had the chance to interview Cathy from Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter about how the SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. Growing Women’s Health campaign helps them support Calgary women.
First, a story from a woman that Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter has helped:
Kara’s Story (Pseudonym Used)
“I met my partner when I was nineteen years old. It was love at first sight. We embarked on a relationship full of adventure and wonder as we travelled abroad and spent months and even years in different countries.
On the surface everything was great; we were the ideal couple. For a while, I truly believed it. However, soon the verbal abuse started. I was told “you’re stupid” or “you’re ugly.” I would stand up for myself and resist, but I stayed with him because I didn’t think it was that bad. I didn’t want people to know and figured this was something we could deal with on our own. He told me I was his world, his everything. I believed him.
Then the physical abuse started. Countless times he would put his hands on me. My arms were regularly bruised, he would hit me, slap me, and force sexual intercourse when I wasn’t willing. My spirit and body was diminished, but amongst the abuse there were also highlights in our relationship. It wasn’t always bad. At this point we had been together for more than seven years.
For reasons I had yet to realize, I felt a strong calling to get involved with the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter. While I was sitting in a volunteer presentation, I realized the victims we were learning to support had a lot in common with me. It was at this moment I realized that I was a victim and broke down. This is when I reached out to the agency for support.
After I had been attending counselling sessions for a year, I realized that the relationship was unsafe, it was unhealthy, and the situation was not beneficial for either of us. I made the decision to end the relationship. The aftermath was a rollercoaster ride to say the least. It took some time, but I finally started to accept everything and re-establish myself to become healthy and whole again. I began to work on myself, and regain confidence and prosperity within my own being.I am happier now and know how important it is to take care of yourself first and foremost. Above all, I am confident that everything is going to be okay.”
What does being part of the SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. Growing Women’s Health program mean to your charity and the people you support?
Through various programs in the community, the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter strives to make women and their families feel whole and healthy again. Counselling based programs and support services create a safe environment where families can rebuild their confidence and empower their minds, bodies, and spirits. Being part of this campaign helps those we serve to be supported and empowered.
Earlier this year, the Calgary Shoppers Drug Mart family lost one of their own. Nadia El-Dib was the daughter of a long-time Shoppers Drug Mart employee, and Nadia herself worked in one of the stores as a teen. She was killed in a senseless act of violence. This year’s Growing Women’s Health Campaign is helping raise money and awareness for the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter in her honour.
Nadia’s story has touched many people. This could have happened to anyone – someone’s sister, daughter, friend or mother. Many women live in fear for their lives every day and Nadia’s family would like to use her voice to give strength to those in similar situations.
This campaign helps those like Nadia receive the support they need and to change the conversation. Family violence and abuse is a community issue that can only be solved if everyone gets involved and “Takes a Stand”.
The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter is truly grateful for our long-standing partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart through the Growing Women’s Health Campaign. We are honoured that stores have chosen to support the women and families who access our programs. With this support, we can continue to help them heal, and live safer and healthier lives.
Tell me about the services Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter offers to women in the community.
The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter is focused on ending family violence and abuse in the lives of women, children, youth and men. “Taking A Stand Against Family Violence and Abuse” in the community since 1974, the agency has helped more than 200,000 individuals build safe lives and healthy relationships. We are on the front lines to provide hope and support to some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter Programs & Services
- 24-Hour Family Violence Helpline
- Emergency Shelter
- Child and Adolescent Services
- Court Program
- Community Services Counselling Program
- Healthy Relationships Program
- Men’s Counselling Service
- Take A Stand – a community capacity building initiative
How can my followers support Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter?
Followers can Take A Stand Against Family Violence and Abuse and get involved in the following ways:
- Contribute to the SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. Growing Women’s Health Campaign
- Learn more about family violence and abuse
- Help someone they know or think is being abused
- Speak up and start the conversation about family violence and abuse
What is one thing that people need to know about CWES that they might not?
Though the Emergency Shelter is the cornerstone of the organization it is ‘More than a Shelter’ offering innovative healing, safety, and prevention programs in the community. Through these programs, the organization supports victims and engages the community in dialogue about family violence and abuse. In fact, 95% of the people that we help never actually stay at the Emergency Shelter.
CWES is an amazing organization! Help them stop family violence. And if you need help, remember that you can always call their 24-Hour Family Violence Help Line at 403.234.SAFE (7233)
Being a part of this campaign has reminded me how important it is to take care of myself and women in my community. We are all in this together. So head to your local Shopper’s Drug Mart and support the SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. Growing Women’s Health campaign by buying a leaf, butterfly, apple or bird. Let’s make our community a more supportive and beautiful place.