It’s been a decade since Anney Ardiel first saw the opportunity to create an organization aimed at helping women in need with household items, and now Anney’s Closet is inviting the public to gather to celebrate the occasion, and as always, help people in need.
On May 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Soroptimist International of Victoria Westshore, the program sponsors of Anney’s Closet, is hosting a celebration at the “closet” – located inside West Shore ULock (1621 Island Hwy.) – featuring everything from free barbecue to inspiring speeches highlighting the good work the volunteer group has done.
And while the group won’t be collecting donations of new or gently used household items that day, they are encouraging guests to bring menstrual products to help the United Way Southern Vancouver Island’s Period Promise Campaign.
“We’re celebrating that we are able to help so many people in the community through the outreach that we do,” said Michelle Mahovlich, one of the group’s volunteer shopping coordinators. “We’ve really expanded in the last few years, having two new furniture lockers allowing us to give out furniture, with Foster’s Moving who are amazing supporters for us.”
From its inception, the organization has aimed to provide new or gently used household items ranging from kitchenware, cutlery, plates, bedding – including quilts made by the West Shore Quilters Guild – and towels to women who are either aging out of foster care and preparing to live on their own for the first time, women who are leaving unsafe homes, often with children, and refugees settling in the region to help them get a head start in their new lives.
In the past few years, they have been able to start distributing used furniture thanks to additional support from ULock and Foster’s Moving, which provides delivery services to clients.
Most of their clients are helped through other aid agencies, which can include school counsellors, rather than through direct contact in order to ensure the aid is going where it is needed most. Once connected, the clients are invited to the group’s “closet,” a donated set of storage lockers courtesy of West Shore ULock, where they are able to pick the items they need and want most, along with a basket of general household items and a bag of personal toiletries courtesy of Soap for Hope.
The organization collects donations the middle two Saturdays of each month at the storage facility, and asks that they be in new or like-new condition, though donations which are not suitable are passed on to other organizations which can find a use for them when possible.
Those interested in attending the 10th anniversary celebration are asked to register for the event online at eventbrite.com.