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Earlier this week we announced a fundraiser for Shelter Movers, a volunteer organization with four Canadian chapters, including one that serves metro Vancouver. The only such organization in Canada, it provides moving and storage services at no cost to survivors of abuse, supporting them in their transition to a life free of violence. Over sixty families per month are moved to safety with the help of Shelter Movers across Canada.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been linked to spikes in domestic violence reports and crisis calls around the world, and we thought that supporting Shelter Movers was one way St. Clement's could support important "front-line" work during the time of pandemia. 

Jobe Chan, Fund Developement Manager for Shelter Movers Vancouver, shared this client testimony with us:

You helped me move with dignity and provided a sense of safety and security that was priceless. Attempting to move with the help of friends and family, as I had initially envisioned, likely would have resulted in tension and conflict. I would have had to deal directly with my abuser, which would certainly have gone poorly. With Shelter Movers I was protected and buffered from any direct confrontation. Along with the efficient and calm moving help, this gave me peace of mind. Never underestimate that this is an integral aspect of the support you offer women who must enter their old homes to retrieve belongings when their abuser is present.

Everyone on my move team was polite, thoughtful, efficient and friendly. Amazingly, the team brought a positive vibe to what was a stressful and tense experience for me. I appreciated that we could have a few moments of relaxing at the end of the move. Everyone acted as though what had just happened was so normal, no big deal that you had just entered a home that wasn't safe for me to enter alone, helped me get the vast majority of my important belongings, and set me off on my way to a new life. You had simply helped someone move to a new home. The focus wasn't at all on what happened or why, and I didn't feel like I needed to explain anything.

Once again, thank you to each person in this room and across the country who gives their time to walk beside women in one of the most difficult moments of their lives. You provide peace of mind, physical strength, and kindness - and that made all the difference. 

In the gospels, Jesus calls us to stand with the oppressed, the vulnerable and those in pain. We hope that our donations help pave the way for Shelter Movers' clients to begin a new life in which they feel safe and valued.

For a quick fact sheet about Shelter Movers, click here.