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Shop at Operation Grow, help fight homelessness, violence against women in our community

Operation Grow helps support La Maison Rosewood, which aims to help women rebuild their lives and build a brighter future

Did you know that shopping at Operation Grow directly supports women and children facing domestic violence in our community?

By stopping and shopping at Operation Grow, a social enterprise that grows, produces and sells vegan and gluten free goods, you are helping to fund programs at La Maison Rosewood, a shelter that helps victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and human trafficking in Midland and North Simcoe.

Services at La Maison Rosewood range from an emergency 20-bed shelter for women experiencing  abuse and/or homelessness, a 24 hour telephone crisis line, advocacy, information and referrals, individual counselling, support groups for women and their children, legal support and outreach services.

The programs and resources available through La Maison Rosewood are 100 per cent free and confidential. 

With alarming statistics concerning violence against women, there is a critical need for organizations like La Maison Rosewood.

Fifty-one per cent of Canadian women over the age of 16 have experienced at least one incident of physical/sexual violence and one to two women are murdered by a current or former partner each week in Canada.

The problem is further exacerbated by the current housing crisis.

“We provide support for women with transitional housing, but it has become so difficult with the housing crisis to find places for women to move into in the community,” said acting executive director Haily MacDonald. “Not to mention the housing crisis is multi-dimensional and there is so much stigma around homelessness and individuals who are looking for housing.”

MacDonald says this is why it is so important to embrace people entering your community and neighbourhood. 

“Stigma [around homelessness] places a barrier on people to feel like they belong in the community, so it is important to foster a sense of belonging,” she said. “And there is a link between homelessness, poverty and violence against women.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has also complicated serving the needs of those facing violent and unstable living situations.

The shelter lost capacity during the pandemic, which has always had full beds. MacDonald also explained that they saw an increase in the number of crisis calls as well as the length of time of those calls during the pandemic. The shelter also noted an increase in  the intensity of violence that women were experiencing and that it became harder for women to leave violent homes.

“Women facing abuse had to make a choice to enter a congregate living centre, which is a higher risk setting to contract the violence, or staying in an unsafe home,” MacDonald said.

“For us, the pandemic isn’t over. None of the restrictions have changed for shelters,” said MacDonald.

“Our staff has been incredible, following rules and doing additional screening and testing and connecting with the women and pitching in. We’re so fortunate to have so many incredible women working in our organization and that we didn’t have to close our doors once during the pandemic.”

Despite the hardships faced by non-profits during the pandemic, MacDonald expressed immense gratitude for the generosity the Midland community showed during these uncertain times.

“For us in the non-profit community, the pandemic has led to a decrease in donations overall. As a non-profit we always require community support to be able to ensure that we can continue to provide service and support to those who need it,” MacDonald said.

That is why every donation helps to make a difference for the shelter.

“There has been so much generosity in the community and we have certainly felt that over the years,” she said.

In addition to making a donation or shopping at Operation Grow, you can also help make a difference by applying for the vacant board member position at the shelter.

To make a donation or learn how you can volunteer to help, click here.

To learn more about services provided by La Maison Rosewood, click here. If you are in crisis, call 1-800-461-1750 or 1-800-987-0799.