What We've Accomplished
Since the Fort St. John Women's Resource Society was founded in 1981, we have accomplished many projects throughout the community.
The outreach store - food pantry
The Outreach Store provides free food for women, children, and men in need. Initially, the Outreach Store was available exclusively to residents of Skye's Place, it then expanded to our clients through the Poverty Law Program. As the need for the outreach store grew, the store was expanded to include more people. In November 2014 the Outreach Store was opened to men and since then the number of people accessing the store has skyrocketed. In 2016 new food and clothing shelves were built to accommodate the increase in people that were accessing the store. As of 2018, an average of 546 people access the Outreach Store every month.
the outreach store - clothes
The Outreach Store provides free food, clothing, household necessities, hygiene products, and other resources for women, children, and men in need. The Outreach Store is open from 10:00am to 2:00pm daily. Men are invited to use the store on Wednesdays only, the rest of the days are for women clients.
The shoe showcase
In 2016 we teamed up with the Salvation Army, Friendship Centre, NEAT, and The United Way of Northern BC (UWNBC) to make a visual display of the importance of food security in our community. Statistics were taken from the FSJWRS Outreach Store, the Salvation Army lunch program and food bank, and the Friendship Centre's breakfast program. 689 pairs of shoes were on display during the showcase.
the homeless count
Fort St. John's first ever homeless count was organized by Phallon Stoutenburg - our former Outreach and Housing Coordinator. The Homeless Count took place on the 17th and 18th of April 2018. It took place over 24 hours in order to get a "point-in-time" snapshot of the population. The data helped support the work already being done by social service providers in town, and will be continued to be used to support the need for more resources for service providers.
a memory, a monologue, a rant, and a prayer - annual v-day campaign
On February 25th, 2017 a group of volunteers got together to read a series of emotion filled pieces to raise awareness and to end domestic violence against women. The cast was both men and women and included personal stories as well as prewritten monologues.
the healing place
Opened in 2017, The Healing Place is what members of our community asked for. It is a place where self help groups, healing and talking circles, trauma groups, art therapy, and other groups can be formed in order to facilitate healing and communication. The Healing Place is available for use by partner organizations for a minimum donations towards the upkeep of $100 for 3 hours. There are 4 tables and 28 chairs in this space.
The Peace Project
The Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society applied for the funding and launched “The Peace Project”, a three-year, community driven initiative to reduce violence against women and girls in Fort St. John. The project was led by the Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society and funded by Status of Women Canada. The project started in March 2012 and ran until March 2015.
A crucial document that came out of the Peace Project was the Gender Based Analysis of our area which has long been a hub for the resource industry. The community of Fort St John has characteristics that stand out from provincial and national averages. All the following factors can contribute to violence against women and girls in Fort St. John.
These include increased:
Wages for male workers and couples with children;
Birthrates and teen pregnancy;
Housing and rental prices;
Alcohol and drug use;
Women with children not in the labour force;
Income disparity between men and women;
Rates of violent crimes;
Number of men; and,
The Amnesty International report titled “Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Gender, Indigenous rights, and energy development in northeast BC” published in 2016 conducted over 100 interviews with service providers, public officials and local community members, made extensive references to The Peace Projects Gender Based Analysis and took the further step of conducting research into the impact changes to the land brought about by the resource industry was having on the health, wellness and safety of indigenous women and girls. Who are impacted more significantly than anybody else in our community by the factors already highlighted.
In addition to the Gender Based Analysis a website was developed that was dedicated to the projects and its research. You can find it here: www.thepeaceprojectfsj.wordpress.com The website also contains a community plan and a Service Provider Manual called “What are the Options?” This manual lists all of the service providers in Fort St. John who work with women and families who experience violence. These PDF’s are downloadable off the website.