Sikhs create Valentine's Day care packages for women in GTA shelters
World Sikh Organization, with the help of community groups, organized the event
More than a dozen volunteers spent Sunday morning lovingly putting together care packages for women in shelters in the Greater Toronto Area in time for Valentine's Day as part of a Sikh community event.
Gurleen Kaur, an organizer, said the care packages in bright pink bags send a clear message to women and their children who are going through hard times.
"Valentine's Day is typically a time of the year where they might feel a little more vulnerable and so we want to give them love," Kaur told CBC Toronto.
"It's important to tell them that the community supports them."
The event, organized by the World Sikh Organization of Canada with the help of community groups, is part of the One Billion Rising initiative. The initiative is a call to action based on the estimate by the World Health Organization that one in three women around the world will be assaulted in her lifetime.
Kaur said the volunteers, who created 100 packages for women and 110 packages for their children, will distribute the bags to shelters in Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton before Feb. 14.
The care packages contain handmade Valentine's Day cards made by school children.The packages also contain cookies, candy and chocolates, and tooth brushes, shampoo, deodorant, tampons and sanitary pads.
Volunteers took more than two hours at an office in Mississauga on Sunday to fill the bags. It's the sixth year that the World Sikh Organization has prepared and distributed care packages for women in shelters.
"They really appreciate it. That's what we are usually told after we do the deliveries," Kaur said. "They are really excited to get it each year. It's a nice feeling."
Stapled to each bag is a note with information about the World Sikh Organization Family Helpline.
According to the World Sikh Organization, the event is an opportunity to raise awareness about issues family violence and resources that exist in communities to families in need.
The event, which began in 2012, is also taking place this year in Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
With files from Muriel Draaisma