Have a heart this Mother's Day: support Waikato Women's Refuge
When Jane Cook left her abusive husband, she jumped in her car with just the clothes on her back.
"I got in my car and I started driving. I was in Auckland and I ended up driving to Hamilton," she says.
Cook, like many women in domestic abuse, felt like she had nowhere to go when she needed help.
"I didn't know where to go, I didn't know what to do. I ended up at the police station and they put me in contact with the Waikato Women's Refuge. They came and they took me to a safe house straight away," says Cook.
In the past year Waikato Women's Refuge - Te Whakaruruhau has helped more than 4000 women in Waikato escape violent and abusive relationships. The refuge's crisis service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week providing advice and support to women and children. Their six Hamilton safe houses accommodate around 60 women and children a week.
The refuge's co-founder and CEO Ruahine Albert says they rely heavily on the support of the community to help them protect the women and children in their care.
And as Mother's Day approaches, she's asking businesses and individuals in the Waikato to buy boxes of Donovan's Rocky Road Clusters to support their Have a Heart campaign.
"We rely on the connections we have with local businesses and the community to help us. We need funding to continue the important work we do with women and families," says Albert. "Our work doesn't stop after the crisis is over - we continue to support women and their whanau to prevent and reduce domestic violence in our community."
Waikato Women's Refuge started more than 30 years ago as a response to family violence. It is not affiliated with the national body of women's refuges and must fundraise on its own.
Albert says Waikato Women's Refuge is unique in that it also works with the men who are perpetrators of domestic violence, to support them to change their abusive behaviour. "Our approach is holistic and family-centred," says Albert. "We have 30 staff and volunteers who work with women and families. Our work isn't easy and the need is great. We need support from the community, and from Hamilton businesses in particular for this campaign. We'd love it if local businesses got behind our Have a Heart Mother's Day campaign and bought some chocolates."
The Donovan's Rocky Road Clusters - 60 per cent dark chocolate combined with marshmallows, berry pieces and crunchy peanuts - are available in boxes of eight packets for $40. Businesses can buy boxes to gift to staff and clients or sell individual packets in the workplace and donate additional funds to Waikato Women's Refuge. Support the refuge's women and children this Mother's Day by purchasing boxes online at haveaheart.co.nz or by contacting 07 855 7569.
If you need help from Waikato Women's Refuge, phone 07 855 1569. Help is available 24 hours a day.
Kate Monahan Riddell
027 503 0307