SOWINS ramping up for walk

It takes a collective community effort to help high risk women and girls in the South Okanagan.

Abuse victim Linda McLean led the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes procession in support of the South Okanagan Women in Need Society in 2015.

Abuse victim Linda McLean led the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes procession in support of the South Okanagan Women in Need Society in 2015.

It takes a collective community effort to help high risk women and girls in the South Okanagan and Parkers Chrysler Dodge Jeep stepped up to the plate by donating the use of a RAM ProMaster City van to the South Okanagan Women in Need Society.

“We are thrilled that such a prominent Penticton business like Parkers has taken a leadership position in helping our community’s most vulnerable,” said Debbie Scarborough, executive director of SOWINS.  “By setting such an example, we believe it will create a domino effect with other key businesses in Penticton.”

According to Scarborough, the van will be a key component in the society’s Mobile Outreach Program (MOP) wherein volunteers will be transporting harm reduction kits and nutritious snacks to young girls and women in the sex trade industry.

The society conducted a survey in 2015 that showed that sex trade workers triple in the South Okanagan, to as high as 120 women, in the summer months, which makes the need for an outreach program even more urgent.

“The van is highly visible with SOWINS and Parker’s logo, so that these women know it is a safe place for them” said Scarborough.

In addition to the kits and snacks, information about services that SOWINS provides to help high risk, vulnerable women will also be made available.

“We are honoured to help organizations like SOWINS because their efforts impact our entire community. If we have the ability to leverage our assets in a way that makes sense for SOWINS and other non-profits in the South Okanagan, then we are happy to do so,” said Jim Tabler, general manager of Parkers which has been operating in Penticton since 1945.

SOWINS is still looking for volunteers to help with the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundraising event on July 8. The two major areas they need assistance with is set up and take down (one hour at noon and at 6:45 p.m. and to place road closure barricades (from 4 to 6 p.m.).

If you have a few hours to spare contact volcoord@sowins.com or (250) 493-4366.

This event will raise fund towards the $50,000 goal for safe second-stage housing. Thanks to two large donations from Earl’s and the Penticton Foundry, SOWINS has raised $14,689.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes South Okanagan is a fundraiser aimed to support SOWINS work to break the cycle of gender-based and domestic violence. It takes place in Gyro Park on July 8 with registration and sign in at 4 p.m. The walk begins at 4:45 p.m. and festivities will follow until 7 p.m. There are prizes for individual and team costumes and fundraising, highest heel for walkers and more.

Everyone is welcome to participate by registering as an individual, creating your own team or joining an existing team. Although abuse is a very serious matter, this light-hearted event invites registered participants to take a stand and walk for awareness and change.