Calgary

'Financial crisis' leaves Calgary charity's resource centres in danger of permanent closure

A local charity that supports Calgary women and their families in their time of need is in danger of shutting down its resource centres.

Donations to Women In Need Society are down, but demand is up

A Women In Need Society thrift store in the neighbourhood of Bowness in Calgary. (Google Maps)

A local charity that supports Calgary women and their families in their time of need is in danger of shutting down its family resource centres.

"We are in a bit of a financial crisis," Karen Ramchuk, the executive director of Women In Need Society, told CBC News.

WINS's four family resource centres will be closing temporarily on March 23, and are in danger of shutting down permanently in April unless the organization can raise $500,000 to supplement its stores' revenues.

The last few months it has hit crisis level.- Karen Ramchuk

"With the depressed economy that's in Calgary at this time, our donations over the last few months have been down by 40 per cent," Ramchuk said. 

"We have less product to sell in our stores, so our store sales are down as well. The majority of the revenue we use to fund our family resource centres' social programs come from the revenue from our stores. We have a little bit of outside funding, but very, very little."

And as donations have fallen, the need for the organization's resources as spiked. Ramchuk said demand for WINS' resources has increased by 70 per cent from 2014 to the end of 2017.

"The last few months it has hit crisis level," she said.

Charity helps thousands of women

The organization said it helps between 6,000 and 7,000 women every year. 

WINS is asking Calgarians to support the agency by making donations of cash or clothing and household goods, and by choosing to shop at the non-profit's stores around the city.

The four family resource centres that are in danger of shutting down are located in Calgary Housing complexes in Temple, Erin Woods, Bridgeland and Glenbrook. 

They provide services including ESL courses, after-school care, employment coaching and public-access computers. 

Ramchuk said there are six staff members that maintain the facilities that will be temporarily laid off on March 23, and permanently laid off in April if the organization can't raise enough funds. 

With files from Elizabeth Snaddon