“You don’t really guess that a lot of stuff could happen in a small town. People kind of turn a blind eye to it.”
These are the words of Raina McCue, an 18-year-old, first-year student of psychology at Trent University, regarding abuse and trauma suffered by women and their families. The month of December, while most often associated with the joys and giving spirit of the holiday season, is also the marker of a more somber occasion.
On Dec. 6, 1989, a lone gunman named Marc Lépine entered a classroom at the École polytechnique in Montreal, armed with a semi-automatic weapon, before opening fire on the young female students of the school.
McCue, who has spent time volunteering at Women’s Resources in Lindsay since age 14, wanted to find a way to give back.
She decided to dedicate some of her time to harnessing the giving spirit of Christmas towards this cause.
“This year, I decided to give back, because I went to university and learned a little bit about money management,” says McCue. “I realized that everything my parents have given me is from their hard-earned money, and that a lot of people aren’t as fortunate as I am.”
She notes that sometimes near Christmas, “domestic violence strikes up, and a lot of women and their children are left without money.”
McCue says she realized she knew a wide range of people through social media so decided to start organizing to gather much-needed practical gifts for women who find themselves at Women’s Resources in Kawartha Lakes area.
“I didn’t expect a lot, but I’ve had over 30 people donate. All the way from Oshawa, Lindsay, Fenelon, Cannington,” she says.
“Not that Christmas is about giving and presents,” she says. “It’s about love. But it’s hard to feel the love when you’re in a shelter.”
McCue says there are many ways to help out and give, such as recycling old clothes that are no longer worn. “Maybe if your grandpa got you an ugly sweater, give it to somebody else.”
“Toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrushes, conditioner, shampoo, feminine products,” and other day-to day items were her recommendations for material donations.
For emotional support, however, her suggestion was more complex.
“It’s really important that we as a community check up on people, our friends and family.”
She notes that domestic abuse “can affect so many,” so it’s important for women to know there’s a place to go.
To find out how to make a direct donation to Women’s Resources call 705-878-4285.