It’s always interesting to get a glimpse behind the scenes of a complex operation, and that’s definitely true of Vicky’s Values, the “unique boutique” that raises money for Women’s Resources by offering gently used clothing and housewares at low prices. Volunteers carefully sort donations by type, style, size, season and more, putting the Valentine’s Day heart pillows and sparkly Christmas lights in storage until the calendar flips to the right page.
Every now and then, though, they find donations that go somewhere extra-special. Matching sheets and pillowcases, a complete set of dishes or glassware — these things are set aside just for the organization’s clients.
A woman receiving services from Women’s Resources often gets a referral from her counsellor to come to Vicky’s Values. Staff there take a list of what she needs to set up house, given that she often left the home she shared with her partner in a hurry and under stressful circumstances. In exchange for gift certificates supplied by her counsellor, she is then given the best of what Vicky’s has to offer to help her start over. “We don’t give women mismatched things,” says Becky Irvine, Vicky’s Values coordinator.
Those things can include bedding, pots and pans, dishes, cutlery, glassware and more. In each case, the clients receive items that they need but that also look nice. Why does that matter? Because Women’s Resources believes that if all women deserve dignity and compassion, such treatment is especially important for those who have experienced violence. After being told she’s worthless by her abuser, this simple, practical affirmation of her humanity speaks volumes.
When everything has been put together for a woman to use in her new place, she has one less thing to worry about, and maybe even has something to look forward to. The attractive comforters on her children’s beds and the pristine plates at suppertime are about much more than simply keeping up appearances. They’re a constant reminder that there are people who care about her and her kids, and that they matter. For a woman who’s endured life with someone who diminished her emotionally, limited her interactions with others and maybe even hurt her physically, a safe space furnished with attractive things rather than castoffs can represent a whole new outlook.
If you have a nice matched set of household items, or wish to donate new things including towels, electric kettles or toaster ovens, Vicky’s Values can ensure they will find a good home. If you’re not sure about something, you can visit the store at 50 Mary St. W., or call 705-878-5938. All COVID safety precautions are in place.
By Nancy Payne