We know that these winter months ahead won’t be the same as they were in previous years, and for some, they will be extremely difficult.
This year, in a year like no other, YWCA Cambridge has been supporting more families in need than ever before, from our child care families, to our youth and women’s programming participants. Our support looks like a lot of things: providing warm clothes for anyone who needs them; delivering food hampers and activity kits; organizing walks for participants to just get out, enjoy some fresh air and have a space to talk. It looks like staff coming together and brainstorming ways to continue programming with youth and adults in a COVID-friendly way, responding to the changing needs of participants and designing special workshops and programming around those emerging needs.
The community has been amazing at coming together and helping us support families in so many ways, and often, no one even knows it’s happening. People have quietly come to us with bags and bags of groceries, or with cheques to support a family that just really needs some extra help right now.
As a nonprofit organization, especially one with no core funding, every single financial setback has the potential to threaten our very existence, and at this point, we’ve faced more than a few setbacks.
In the Before Times, we provided approximately 360 licensed child care spaces for the community. Right now, our centres are operating at about 40% capacity while employing the same number of staff. We’re revisiting budgets again and again. We’re doing everything we can to ensure we’re providing the best programs and services that we can, while maintaining a happy and healthy staff team, but, frankly, no amount of creativity is going to help us find the dollars we need.
That’s why we need your help. If you have the capacity to support a local charity this holiday season, we ask that you please consider one of the many ways we have in place to help us help those in our community who are most vulnerable. Some of these options are listed below but if you have another idea in mind, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
- We have created an Amazon Wish List that includes some of the most needed items across our programming. From extra markers & pom poms, to snow pants, mittens and stickers (kids in our care love stickers!). Every item on this list has been selected because they are readily available online and reasonably priced, but if you prefer to shop elsewhere for any category on the list, feel free to do so. You can never have too many stickers after all 😉
- Monetary donations are quite literally, the most important factor in keeping our work going. Each year, YWCA Cambridge must raise over $100,000 to provide essential program supplies and support to our community. We use these funds to provide summer camp subsidies for families in need, to offer free gender-based violence workshops for youth to learn about healthy relationships while building their self-esteem, and we make sure that every child in our care has the appropriate warm weather clothes to play outside with their friends. This community support is the lifeblood of our work. If you are supporting any charities this year through a one-time or monthly gift, please consider YWCA Cambridge. To learn more about our work and where your donation will be used, please visit our website at https://ywcacambridge.ca/individual-giving/
- One of the easiest ways to support, if you are on social media, is to share our messages with your networks. We often post on our social accounts about our work and use this platform to ask our community for help when we need it. If you follow us on Instagram and Facebook, and see something that resonates with you, please share with your networks and helps us raise awareness about the importance of supporting those most in need, this year, more than ever.
- Some of you may not know but we operate a retail social enterprise in downtown Galt called Women’s International Gift & Gallery! If you are shopping local this holiday season, we would love to see you in store and help you find that perfect gift. Or you can shop online, with free local delivery available within Cambridge! We are located at 55 Dickson Street, right across from City Hall, or online at www.wiggonline.com
So, if you have the means, and you want to make a difference, we hope you see the change we’re trying to make in our wonderful community and that you help us continue this work.