A movie event like this required lots of popcorn!

By Kathryn Stocks

Dozens of families gathered at the Port Union Community Centre on February 25 for a movie fundraising event put on by Jodi and Alan Gear. The movies Moana and Cars 3 were shown and about $1,300 was raised for a local safe house for women and children. The secure shelter is not actually located within Centennial but it’s very close by in a neighbouring community.

Jodi was impressed with the great turnout, the vendors and the amount raised. Vendors donated their proceeds from the event and local businesses donated items for the raffle baskets. She also brought in PC Randy Arsenault, 43 Division’s community engagement officer.

When she posted about the movie, she asked for donations of things like toys, clothing, kitchen items and linens for the women they leave the shelter. In mid-March, her office was filled with generous donations from this community. Jodi can’t get over the response. “I still get calls,” she said. “I picked up three donations the other day. Somebody handed me a handful of cash and a bagful of stuff. And it was all new makeup and toiletries for the women.”

She will be using the money raised at the movie afternoon to buy gift cards from Walmart, which staff members will give out to the women when they leave the safe house.

Jodi has now been approved to be a volunteer there and she will be visiting on a regular basis. When she was at the shelter in February, there were five women and nine children. The facility can take up to 15 women with their children.

“The staff are unbelievable,” she said. “They live and breathe for helping these women and getting them on track. They receive help because they go through quite an ordeal and need therapy. Some women are so brutalized and so damaged that they end up staying for eight months to a year because they need that support. They need to get out of that headspace they’ve been in for years and gain confidence in themselves.”

When the women are ready to leave the shelter, staff members help them find jobs and a place to live. Jodi wants to get involved with finding housing. “If I can help them out in some teeny-tiny way, that’s something that I want to do because I’m in a position that I can.”

When they leave, they’ll need things like bed sheets, towels and cutlery. There’s also a great need for furniture because the shelter has no place to store it.

Jodi is planning more fundraising events and one of them will be a family dinner dance in October just before Halloween. If you’d like to donate to the families in the shelter, contact Jodi at 416-282-9292 or 416-880-8433 or email her at jodi@gearrealty.com.