Donations help keep shelter alive

Shelter House Thunder Bay development officer Kimberley Kennedy, left, and executive director Michelle Jordan announce the start of the shelter’s holiday fundraising campaign this week.

With pandemic relief funding drying up, Shelter House Thunder Bay is facing uncertainty heading into 2022.

Earlier this week, the organization kicked off its annual Holiday Gift of Warmth campaign with a goal of raising $200,000 to support the programs and services offered through the George Street shelter.

Shelter House receives funding from all levels of government but it is still required to raise $450,000 every year to keep all programs running.

“The last two years have been incredibly difficult on our clients and our staff,” said Michelle Jordan, executive director of Shelter House, in a news release. “Between the fire, the pandemic, and the outbreak there hasn’t been any sense of normalcy and we’ve been in a constant state of reaction.”

As pandemic funding relief is coming to a stop, Jordan said they’ve partnered with the federal government, the United Way of Thunder Bay and Reaching Home to start a pilot program to help move individuals out of the shelter system.

“The future of this program is uncertain right now, but with donations, the program could continue on next year,” said Jordan.

The first donation to this year’s Gift of Warmth campaign was from Kimberley Kennedy, development officer at Shelter House.

Kennedy gave a donation of $500 in memory of her late uncle.

About 80 per cent of the donations received at Shelter House are under $500, said Kennedy.

“Our most common gift amount is $50, so when we say a little bit of caring goes a long way, we truly mean it,” she said.

“This campaign is all about giving the gift of warmth, and as we’re going home at the end of the day to a warm bed and a warm home, we often forget that it’s such a blessing.”

Donations can be made online at www.shelterhouse.on.ca/giftofwarmth.