Walker Industries Helps Ernestine’s Deliver Food Security
Walker Industries – a family-owned Canadian company that has been operating for more than 130 years – is helping provide a lifeline to women and children at risk of domestic violence whose struggle to rebuild their lives has been made even more difficult during the pandemic.
Walker has committed to donating $250,000 to Ernestine’s over the next five years to put healthy, nourishing food on the tables of vulnerable women and children, who have fled abusive relationships.
Thanks to Walker’s generous 5-year pledge, Ernestine’s is able to continue providing basic necessities, including vital food support, to women and children staying in the 32-bed emergency shelter and to more than 400 additional outreach clients from across the GTA.
The ongoing COVID pandemic and the economic downturn tied to it have put vulnerable women and children in an even more precarious position, increasing demand for shelters such as ours. The start of the school year, which carries with it numerous additional expenses for families, only adds to the pressure. Ernestine’s is experiencing increased operating and food costs.
That’s why we are so thankful to have received our largest-ever private donation for our food support program, allowing us to put food on the tables of women and children at risk of domestic violence.
“We are extremely grateful for Walker’s support at such a challenging time,” says Sharlene Tygesen, Executive Director of Ernestine’s. “The demand for our foodbank is ever-increasing, as more and more families in the community are unable to afford to put food in their fridges and pantries due to the rapidly rising cost of housing and other necessities. The economic downturn tied to the pandemic has put many of our clients in an even tougher financial position.”
Food insecurity and trauma-related lack of resources can have a very deep and lasting impact on the women and children who have left abusive environments. It makes it much harder for them to rebuild lives free from violence and, in some cases, women and children remain trapped in abusive situations due to fear of financial and residential instability.
“I am just over the moon that they trust us and the work that we are doing to get that food to where it needs to go,” Tygesen says. “There are thousands of children who are going to go to bed hungry tonight. We should all be alarmed by that. When you think of a country as rich as Canada, to think that so many families have to rely on food banks, that’s a problem.”
Walker has had a long-standing commitment to giving back in the communities where it operates and where its employees live. The company developed a relationship with Ernestine’s when employees, including President and CEO Geordie Walker, volunteered at the shelter pre-COVID, assisting in the food bank and donation rooms.
“We know firsthand that this donation will make a big impact for Ernestine’s,” said Geordie Walker. “But more than that, we hope to draw attention to the impact COVID-19 has had on women and children in dangerous or precarious living situations and encourage other businesses to make similar investments in organizations providing support in their own communities.”
Walker Industries is a fifth-generation, family-owned Canadian company that has operated from its base in the Niagara Region for more than 130 years. With facilities across Canada and the United States, the company employs more than 1,200 people in environmental waste management and recovery, renewable energy, paving and construction, aggregates, and emulsions. For more information about Walker, please visit walkerind.com.
To learn how you can get involved and start giving back to your community, please visit our donation page at www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/ernestines-womens-shelter/.