Giving Real Support

In a year that seemed like bad news was around every corner and hope was lost, the people of the Elk Valley stepped up in a legendary way. The Fernie Women’s Resource Centre has been helping the women and families of the Elk Valley since 1979 and we’ve never received support like we have these past 12 months. 

The Women’s Centre supports families and individuals in the Elk Valley by providing a number of programs. While services look different due to COVID-19, we are still providing counselling and outreach services to people who are impacted by violence, supporting pregnant and young families, as well as providing early years programs to families with kids under age six.

Over the past few years it’s been our joy to provide extra support to families during the holidays with a community funded toy drive. We knew the demand for support in 2020 would be more than it had been in previous years, but we were unsure how to support our clients in the safest way possible. It was decided that we would create a gift card drive and ask our community to help us fund it. We thought that gift cards, being less festive than giving gifts, might mean fewer donations and we would struggle to support all the families we were anticipating. We were wrong; in fact, we were blown away by the response. We received more donations in November and December 2020 than we ever have before. Wow, Fernie! You really are the stuff of legends. 

So, what happens now that the holidays are over and the pandemic rages on? Well for many of the clients of the Women’s Centre, they continue to struggle. 

We’ve all been there, needing money for groceries on Monday but not getting paid until Friday, needing to get to Cranbrook on Tuesday for a specialist appointment but the bus only runs on Mondays and Wednesdays. Or maybe, needing to find money for both a damage deposit on a new rental and a U-Haul for the same move in day. What were you able to do in those cases, call on your friends and family? Stick the charge on your credit card? Ask your spouse to help? What happens if you don’t have access to those options?

That’s where the Women’s Centre’s Emergency Fund comes in. All donations made to the Women’s Centre go in the Emergency Fund. The fund is a radical program funded purely by community donations. Your support means that women and families can get money for groceries, gas cards, or rentals at the time when they need it most. They don’t need to fill out a lengthy application or wait for government approval; they can get help right now. Access to convenient, timely, and tangible financial help is rare among government funded programs, especially in rural communities. Because of the support of our community, we are able to provide this help. So, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you. 

If you or someone you care about is struggling, we can help. We offer free, confidential support to all self-identifying women in the Elk Valley. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all but there is a particular group of people who are at considerable risk: people who are living with violent partners and/or family members. We often think of violence as physical and/or sexual assault but what this pandemic is highlighting is the types of violence where bruises don’t show. These are behaviours like manipulation, gas-lighting, isolation, using corrosive control, belittling, and/or overt financial control. 

You don’t need to figure it all out alone. If you would like more information please contact us at 250-423-4687 or

Photo Credit: Nick Nault