The Catholic Women's League (C.W.L.) of St. Mary's Parish here generously has spread some goodwill to their fellow women of Rainy River District.
Members gathered last Thursday afternoon at the new “Welcome Home" Fort Frances Family Centre on Scott Street to pack "Blessing Bags”—reusable bags full of useful items—that will be donated to the Rainy River District Women's Shelter of Hope in Atikokan.
“They are items that we hope women will be able to use," said C.W.L. president Diane Revus, sitting at one of several kitchen tables set up at "Welcome Home," where C.W.L. members enjoyed egg salad sandwiches and conversation after packing the "Blessing Bags.”
They include items ranging from toiletries to journals to write in to slippers, socks, and candy.
Each also has an inspirational message (a blessing) attached to them to offer words of kindness and hope to the recipients.
Revus noted that since November, C.W.L. members have been gathering items according to a list given to them by the shelter.
Every member would bring a different item to each of their monthly meetings and, over time, they had enough to fill 15 bags.
“Some of the bags were donated by Tim Hortons," Revus said. "They're quite nice bags so that was very generous of them.”
While at “Welcome Home,” the C.W.L. also donated $100 to the Fort Frances Family Centre, along with a bundle of items ranging from cookies, slippers, and socks to toiletries.
The cookies are for the centre to offer to visitors who stop by each day while the other items are for women in need who frequent it.
“We hope to continue to give to both centres,” said Revus.
She explained the provincial theme for the C.W.L. this year is centered on homelessness.
Revus admitted homelessness is a big problem to tackle but the local C.W.L. wanted to make life at least a little easier for the less fortunate.
“We hope that in some small way, we can make women feel better,” she reasoned.
The C.W.L. chose to pack the “Blessing Bags" right at the "Welcome Home” Fort Frances Family Centre, and it was most members' first visit there since it opened earlier this month.
“We wanted to utilize the facility; see what it was about,” Revus said.
“We feel that women learn from women, and enjoy each others' company,” she added.
“I hope that more women in town will stop by here and share some time with some of the women here.”