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Gifts of hope
For the members of the Dragonfly Social Art Club, taking time out of a busy schedule at this time of year to create gift baskets for local women in transition houses is an annual tradition.
The club meets monthly at Cactus Station Woodworking and Art Studio in Cloverdale to paint, socialize and explore art events.
Each December, they gather to assemble and wrap gift baskets. The packages contain items like toothpaste and face cloths but they also represent something more than the necessities of life.
To Carolyn Findlay, the baskets are a small kindness that have the power to transmit hope and encouragement to other women who are going through a difficult time.
"Hope – and a feeling that these ladies are not alone," Findlay says.
Women in our own neighbourhoods suffer and live with anger and despair, she says.
Transition houses provide refuge for women fleeing abuse, and their children. Circumstances often dictate that they arrive without most of their belongings.
"Just imagine how you would feel if you have decided to finally take the step and leave the hurt and anger behind. You have only the clothes on your back and what's in your purse. Would you be thinking of a toothbrush or comb, or notepad and pen?" Findlay asks. "Not likely. You would only be thinking of getting away."
She asks Cloverdale residents to help spread the word that hope is near through a transition house. Ask any doctor for a contact number, she suggests. In an emergency, call 9-1-1.