Sikh Community in Canada’s Calgary sent Valentine’s Day surprises to women and children in need.
For the past six years, the World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) in collaboration with the Punjabi Community Health Society are making Valentine’s Day care packages for domestic violence survivors.
The V-Day care packages include necessities such as blankets, toiletries and grocery store gift card — and comforts like handwritten cards, teddy bears, and chocolate.
WSO volunteer Remneek Kaur said the initiative is an extension of the WSO’s involvement with One Billion Rising, a global campaign that seeks to end physical and sexual violence against women.
The packages are put together and delivered during Valentine’s Day to remind women and children that they are cared for, said Kaur.
“That’s the time that usually people show their love and affection and care for others, and women facing situations like this often don’t feel like they might necessarily have that,” Kaur added.
“It’s just a way for us to be like, ‘We care for you, we’re here for you’,” told Remneek Kaur.
The Valentine’s Day initiative – in cities across Canada including Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton and Vancouver – is run by the World Sikh Organization.
Spreading love & kindness with @onebillionrisingyyc & @WorldSikhOrg A special & personal way to connect with women as they navigate the unfortunate existence of domestic violence in their lives. A small gift or act of kindness goes a long way in difficult times. pic.twitter.com/oC6e0zGyoc— PCHS Calgary (@PCHSCalgary) February 5, 2020
The packages are a way of providing emotional and financial aid to those fleeing domestic violence, said Sarbjit Sodhi, who works as an intake administrative coordinator with the Punjabi Community Health Society.
Punjabi Community Health Society (PCHS) is a nonprofit organization that provides services for south Asian families dealing with addiction, domestic violence and mental health challenges.
“This is a huge issue. We need to support those people, we need to talk in the community.… This kind of gift, and especially on Valentine’s [Day], it really supports them,” Sodhi said.
Each Valentine’s Day care package is worth about $250, and volunteers usually source funding from the community, Remneek Kaur said.
Calgarians dealing with violence can call 211, or the Connect Family and Sexual Abuse Network at 1-877-237-5888 for sexual abuse, or 403-234-7233 for domestic abuse.