For the second year in a row, a Peterborough-based couple have donated $50,000 to support women and children experiencing gender-based violence in Haliburton County.
Philanthropists David and Patricia Morton, through The Morton Family Foundation, made the donation this year to the YWCA Haliburton Emergency Rural SafeSpace (HERS). YWCA HERS provides safe and supportive temporary accommodations for women, with and without children, who are fleeing abuse in Haliburton County. The service, designed to be available on an as-needed basis in order to help reduce costs, offers space that is staffed 24 hours for safety for up to two families at a time so that women can move away from the abusive situation in their home, without leaving their support systems, jobs and schools, friends and family behind.
Last year the Mortons supported the YWCA Women’s Centre of Haliburton County Outreach Services with a $50,000 donation.
“We are deeply moved by Patricia and David’s positive impact in the Haliburton County community,” said Kim Dolan, executive director of YWCA Peterborough Haliburton. “The Morton’s compassion for others is helping to ensure that women and children have ongoing access to our emergency SafeSpace, nutritious food, basic necessities, and 24-hour support when home is the most dangerous place to be.”
According to a Dec. 9 press release from the YWCA, the COVID-19 crisis has created a toxic combination of increased stress, isolation and job losses that is leading to a dramatic rise in violence. “This is especially true for rural women, whose physical distance from police services and lack of resources to assist in accessing safety and support greatly increases their vulnerability to gender-based violence,” reads the press release. “HERS has been fully occupied since January 2021 and rural women in Haliburton County have reported abuse that is far more serious and complex throughout the pandemic. Like women’s organizations across the province, the YWCA is facing heightened demand and increasing costs.”
“We are so happy to give this donation to such a worthy cause,” said Patricia Morton on behalf of The Morton Family Foundation. “We have been greatly inspired by the expertise and tremendous dedication which the YW’s Haliburton staff bring to their work, both in providing women with safety and security to plan how to build better lives for themselves and their children, and in providing expert professional support services to assist their healing from trauma.”
“As a man I am just appalled and disgusted by violence against women and children,” said David Morton. “I am grateful at least to have this opportunity to extend a helping hand to the brave women who, with the wonderful support of our YWCA, are striving hard to empower themselves.”
For more information on supporting YWCA services, visit ywcahaliburton.org. Donations made before Dec. 31 will be doubled during the YWCA’s holiday season matching gift campaign.
If you, or someone you know, need support please contact the YWCA’s 24-hour support and crisis line toll free at 1-800-461-7656, by phone at 705-286-6442 or by text at 705-854-1591.