Two donors have come forward to triple the amount of every donation up to $5,000

Article by Bill Hornbostel

Cornerstone Family Violence Prevention Centre is holding a virtual version of its annual International Women’s Day Luncheon this year – running between March 8 and March 14 – because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Janelle Eisler, Cornerstone’s Manager of Community Engagement, talks about the International Women’s Day Luncheon and how it will change for participants this year.

“Traditionally, we have held it in one room where we could have the whole community together,” says Eisler. “And it was really growing into just a fabulous event; last year, we sold out in three days, which was incredible, we had over two hundred fifty people that attended, and it was just a really, really wonderful event. And the whole thought process behind that was, ‘Let’s get our community together to celebrate women to empower women.’”

“Last year, we held it and it was about three days before the whole world shut down,” continues Eisler. “We got it in, and then everything came to a halt. So, this year we thought, ‘How are we going to do this? We still really believe in the community coming together to celebrate and empower women, we want to keep this event going; how can we do this in a socially distant way?’”

With ongoing concerns over COVID-19, Cornerstone decided to hold a virtual event. Eisler jokes, “The beauty about a virtual event, as you can get a guest speaker from anywhere, because you don’t have to worry about the travel!”

This year’s keynote speaker is Lani Elliot, a writer and speaker from Saskatchewan who has been campaigning on issues related to domestic violence and sexual violence. Eisler says, “She was on her way to becoming an RCMP officer when an unspeakable act of violence by her partner halted that career.”

“She found herself homeless with two young children and needed the help of women’s organizations and shelters in Saskatchewan to help her through that process,” Eisler adds. “She talks about how she came through that process, and it’s led to where she is today, which has come full circle as she just received an award from the RCMP for all of her advocacy for domestic violence.”

Elliot states, “My desire to be involved in this event stems from my commitment to a promise I made to myself a long time ago when I was at my very bottom. I promised myself that if I made that final break from my abuser and changed my life, I would do all that I could to help others going through the same thing make positive change also, whether it was through raising awareness, or fundraising for the very people who helped me. By sharing my story in this manner, I get to do both.“

Eisler also talks about how the luncheon will work this year. “It is a video presentation, so when a ticket purchaser purchases their ticket, two weeks before the event, they receive a live link and a password, as well as a voucher for lunch at one of our participating restaurants.”

“We’ve been really fortunate to have participating restaurants in Northumberland county that are giving a gourmet lunch to all of our participants,” says Eisler. “[Participants] get to choose which restaurant they want to go to; they can enjoy their lunch while they log in.”

As of this writing, restaurants around Northumberland are already participating are Craft Food House, The El, Food Inspired, and Lucky Stars; Eisler anticipates other restaurants will join as well. The menu and list of restaurants will be posted two weeks before the event.

Eisler talks about the flexibility participants will have to watch the presentation. “That link will be live for that whole week,” Eisler continues. “They don’t have to do it on Monday, March 8, if they’re busy, they can do it Tuesday, they can do it Saturday, anytime within that week that link is live for them, or they can watch it two times or three times if they want. That password is good for that week until March 14.”

Eisler also speaks about the fundraiser associated with the luncheon. “Last year at our event, we introduced our Nights of Shelter fundraiser,” she says. “At the event, there was a whole wall of sponsorships that people could grab and sponsor a night of shelter for $5, $25, all the way up to 500.”

“It was very successful, and it was really exciting; we wanted to keep that alive,” continues Eisler. “We’ve actually had two donors come forward, and they are going to triple the amount of every donation that’s made, up to $5,000. So, at the event, there will be a link underneath the video that they can click, and they can make their donation to Nights of Shelter.”

To buy tickets, or to become involved as a sponsor for the International Women’s Day Luncheon, you can call Janelle Eisler at 905-372-1545, extension 237, or email her (link).

For more information on Cornerstone Family Violence Prevention Centre, you may visit their Web site, cornerstonenorthumberland.ca. You may also follow them on Facebook at (@CornerstoneFamilyViolencePreventionCentre), Twitter (@CornerstoneFVPC) and Instagram (@cornerstonefvpc).

Support for sufferers of domestic violence is available through Cornerstone Connect by texting 289-210-4774, or through the web portal at cornerstonenorthumberland.ca/connect. Cornerstone also has a twenty-four-hour support line for those needing support, 905-372-0746 or 1-800-263-3757. For emergencies, call 911.

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