Anova, formerly Women’s Community House and Sexual Assault Centre London, provides resources for abused women, their children, and all oppressed individuals to find a new start. The organization does whatever they can to ensure that every family experiences the joy of the holiday season.
Pamela Coray is the Development Manager at Anova and has celebrated the holiday season with families at the shelter for 17 years.
“The whole idea of spending Christmas in a homeless shelter is new and foreign. It’s not like Christmas would be in your own home, but the staff and volunteers really reach down and put together a festive season program for the residents that are here.”
The festive program includes an extensive list of holiday activities. They invite local bakers to make gingerbread houses with children at the shelter, organize Christmas entertainment with concerts and activities, as well as prepare Christmas meals for every family.
Amidst the season that promotes joy and giving, Coray says that the best way to describe the atmosphere is, “one which is filled with peaks and valleys.” Each family is experiencing their own challenges and hardships, and often, “Kids will come in and they wonder if Santa will know where they are because they aren’t in their home anymore.”
Donors of the shelter receive a thank you letter from Anova, which includes a testimonial from a woman who was positively impacted by her experience. She shares that the care she received during her stay helped her get to where she is today.
“I had reached a point in my life where I felt I had no one who cared and no one to turn to… not even myself. You all contributed to making me understand that people do care and you guided me to a place of love, self-acceptance, and good health. Without my stay and all the helpful, encouraging words of wisdom, I’m not sure where I would have ended up.”
If you are looking to add some joy to a local family’s holiday, check out Anova’s 2017 Festive Wish List to learn what items they are looking to provide women and their children with this holiday.