The Revelstoke community has donated gift baskets to raise the spirits of women connected with the Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society this Christmas.
The local Helping Hands charity has given $5,000 worth of gift baskets and miscellaneous items to be distributed to women staying at the shelter and those in need.
“I want women in our community to know they are welcomed and supported,” Helping Hands organizer Conin Erbenich says. “I know some women who use the shelter are not from here, I want them to know they are thought of by our gift baskets.”
Erbenich began making the gift baskets for the shelter years ago with her mother Carolyn Chwyl. Her mother passed away on Christmas day three years ago and Erbenich has found continuing their tradition a positive outlet for her pain.
“Instead of letting the grief overwhelm me I choose to spend my time giving back,” Erbenich explains. ”Revelstoke is an amazing community that was there for me and my family during this difficult period of my life. I believe my spirituality has been key to my positive mindset and ability to move forward.”
Erbenich’s mom was a care aide for long-term care facility Mt. Cartier Court for ten years. She moved to Revelstoke when Erbenich started having children and together they gave back.
|A look at the goodies inside the gift baskets. (Submitted/Helping Hands)|
“She was very community minded,” Erbenich says. “She would see a need and fill it.”
This year the number of gift baskets given to the shelter has doubled to 20. The baskets are full of mostly local goodies, worth $150 each. To create these baskets, Erbenich undertakes the huge task of calling on friends, churches and businesses — connections she has grown over her past 20 years in Revelstoke — for physical and monetary donations.
As well as the baskets, she spent donated money locally to provide $2,000 worth of miscellaneous gifts for women throughout the year including haircuts from First Impressions, yoga passes to The Alchemy Studio, and much more.
It’s a show of community support, particularly outstanding this year when so many are struggling financially. As shelter executive Lynn Loeppky says items like this help women feel treated and cared for.
“Christmas is often a time of year where people are sad,” Loeppky says. “It isn’t that joyous for everyone. I think in giving them a little bit of joy they appreciate that. Some women are coming to the shelter with absolutely nothing and we have something that welcomes them.”
Erbenich and her mom chose the women’s shelter as they believed in the cause. Now Erbenich has created the charity Helping Hands to authenticate it and allow others to become involved. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.