A handful of women set up tables inside the Quesnel Tillicum Society Native Friendship Centre this past Sunday morning, selling everything from jewelry and plants to clothing and handmade wooden plant hangers.
They did all of this to help other women.
The Wild Women of the North Society held a fundraising garage/plant sale and concession Sunday, July 21 and will be holding another one this weekend to raise money so the women can continue to help address social concerns like food security and emergency assistance in the community.
The Wild Women of the North Society currently works with other organizations in the community to provide support for people’s pets when they are in treatment, detox or a temporary homelessness situation, and the society would like to provide better assistance in this area.
The society is also working towards a storefront and space to better perform food security initiatives and to fundraise for future projects, towards a tiny homes project to foster skills, allow participant contribution and foster independence and a youth work program, to reduce barriers and help youth gain skills and confidence in the workforce.
Society member Willow Giesinger says right now, they are mostly focusing on food security and outreach and harm reduction, along with helping women navigate services.
The Wild Women of the North have a food hamper program, and Giesinger says hampers go out once a week, sometimes twice, depending on the amount of donations they receive.
“We get donations from the Prince George food bank, local farmers, and Safeway is amazing,” she said. “We serve about 80 to 100 meals a month.”
The food hamper program started as a monthly hamper program but grew into a weekly program.
“This community is amazing,” said Giesinger. “The first time we had it, we had $1,000 to $1,500 to do the hampers.”
There are seven women on the Wild Women of the North Society’s board, and they have volunteers for each committee.
“The group was started so we could support each other in developing initiatives,” said Giesinger. “We’re all women who do a lot of community service initiatives, and you get kind of burnt out from doing it personally all the time.”
The women are all trained to teach people how to administer Naloxone during an opioid overdose, they have registered as a Naloxone distribution site, and they can debrief people who have had to use the kits.
“It’s hard on people when they revive someone — or they don’t — they don’t know,” said Giesinger.
The women also operate a community garden, which provides produce for the food hampers and for a lunch program for elderly farmers.
The Wild Women of the North Society is holding another fundraising garage/plant sale Sunday, July 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Quesnel Tillicum Friendship Society Native Friendship Centre at 319 North Fraser Dr. There will be a concession, kids’ activities and games, and the Pet Safe Coalition Society of Canada will have a table to raise money as well. There is also information about Take Home Naloxone kits and training.
“This is to get the kids out, and we like to get together and have fun and raise money,” said Giesinger. “The Friendship Centre lets us use their space, and we wouldn’t be able to do it without them. We have a partnership with the Elders Circle here too if they ever need our help.”