Expansion campaign for Nanaimo women's shelter sees strong community support

By Spencer Sterritt
September 10, 2018 - 1:13pm Updated: September 10, 2018 - 2:41pm

VIU professor Anna Atkinson serenaded a full church on Sunday, pledging her support for the Island Crisis Care Society.Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — The ongoing plight of a Nanaimo women's shelter is inspiring the community to lend a hand.

The Samaritan House shelter, run by the Island Crisis Care Society, is trying to raise $2 million to double their capacity and add more programs for women in need. Every night, shelter staff have to turn women away and they say more and more senior women are coming to their door.

The story of the shelter struck a chord with VIU professor Anna Atkinson, who held a benefit concert for the expansion at the Cedar United Church on Sunday, Sept. 9.

“It struck me as incredibly sad that in a country as wealthy as Canada, we still need homeless shelters and have women who are vulnerable and exposed,” Atkinson said. “Every one of those women is someone's daughter, sister or mother. Every one of those women has a story and the right to shelter and safety.”

Fifty per cent of the door profits and all the proceeds from CD sales and a raffle at the event went to the expansion campaign.

Atkinson said it's important to have the community rally behind the Samaritan House cause.

“This isn't the kind of project that can be completed by third parties acting on their own. This is a community project. We have to understand the gift the Island Crisis Care Society and Samaritan House is to our community.”

Her concert was the most recent area event to help the campaign.

A portion of profits from the recent President's Cup lacrosse tournament in Nanaimo are going to help Samaritan House, as well as money from paint night events and a luncheon earlier in the summer.

After roughly a year of campaigning, the Society has said it's going well and they've heard great support from the community.


[email protected]

On Twitter: @spencer_sterrit

Nanaimo's Tour de Rock riders earn their stripes