Mary, a former resident of the shelter, now a donor, shares with you the support she received, how it changed her life, and why she is giving back.
“I was living in an abusive relationship in another province. After many brutal assaults by my partner, I packed up in the night and ran away, abandoning everything that was my life at the time.
Staying with friends far away in Toronto, I thought I would be safe. But one day as I was walking to the store across the street from my friend’s place, there he was; he had tracked me down. I panicked and fled. My friend helped me to search for an emergency shelter. We found space available at the Red Door.
It was frightening when I first arrived at the shelter. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew it had to be safer than running from him on the street! The first night, I met my roommates and heard that every single woman had a similar story of terror and abuse. I was no longer alone.
“Just feeling safe, loved, and accepted can open up your entire world once the fear falls away”.
I did not have to worry about the most basic things one needs to survive, so I was able to focus my attention on helping myself, and those around me. During my stay one of the women went into labour. I went with her to the hospital so she was not alone, and was in the room with her as she gave birth to her first baby. When I was sick, one of my roommates made me hot tea with lemon every morning. The women were so amazing, and the bonds were very important. I still think about them to this day.
I remember when the holiday season came around I was feeling so depressed and guilty, having left my loved ones so far away, But it ended up being one of the most touching holidays for me. Every woman and child in the shelter got a little gift. Most of the kids got a small toy or two, and women got hygiene and a few cute little items to bring a smile. We were not forgotten or looked down upon. We were lifted up by the shelter, each other, and by the donors that helped us to all feel like we mattered. Someone out there cared enough to give us something for Christmas. To this day, I still talk about it. It was incredibly touching after years of abuse and misery. We finally were humans who were loved.
Years later, I am living in a loving marriage. I have a good job. We have pets and a lovely home that I feel safe in. I volunteer to help make the lives of those who are suffering a bit brighter. I have a grown adult son who is out on his own in the world now. I am my own person. I am strong.
The Red Door changed my life by being a safe space while I collected myself and got the support I needed. I have since helped several people get out of abusive relationships – and I know first-hand what helps women in an abusive home trying to escape. It’s made me think about who I donate to, and why. It’s given me the ability to see how just feeling safe, loved, and accepted can open up your entire world once the fear falls away.
I give back as a donor because your shelter saved me, and every other woman and child that was there. I give back because I know the terror, pain, and desperation that is in the hearts of these women and children as they quite literally run for their lives in a world where most people turn a blind eye. Because I want every woman and child in an abusive home to find your warm safety, and to feel what it is like to matter!
Please support the Red Door. It honestly saves lives and tragically, there are so many women who are desperate for any chance they can get to make their lives and their children’s lives better – but that can only happen if the door stays open. Give these women and children a chance to feel safe, and loved, and to grow. My gratitude to all who helped me in one of the toughest times in my life.”
Join Mary, and donate now to give help and hope to families at the Red Door Shelter today.