2022: The Kamloops Elizabeth Fry Society

We are pleased to announce the recipient for the Read + Co’s annual Read + Seed program: the Kamloops Elizabeth Fry Society. In addition to our financial contribution, Nimbus Publishing is gifting copies of Wildflower by Briana Corr Scott (Nimbus Publishing, 2021).

These donations will support the upcoming “Mommy & Me” program, set to launch in early 2023, which will see participants from the Stepping Stones program  learning new skills in the community.

The program has participants building and marketing gift baskets for new mothers. The creation, promotion, and sale of these boxes will bring revenue to the Elizabeth Fry Society’s programs and the women they serve, while creating a part-time employment opportunity and resumé-building experience. Participants will create marketing plans to promote the boxes and will sell them either online or in person, depending on whether there are special mandates in place around the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “Mommy & Me” program is especially aligned with Read + Co, because it speaks directly to the Read + Seed mandate to encourage art and community building, and it assists in building participants’ confidence by learning business skills relating to books.

The boxes will include books by Canadian, Indigenous, and racialized authors and creations by Indigenous artisans. Sharing these boxes with young mothers will introduce children to a full spectrum of offerings from authors and creators while engaging the local business community through collaboration.

One of the ladies who became part of Family Stepping Stones is Emily. Here is Emily’s story:

I became homeless in Kamloops, 6 months pregnant, after moving here to try and get a fresh start for me and my baby. I had little to no support and was in desperate need of a home for me and the baby on the way. Feeling hopeless because I had no where to go, I ended up at the shelter but knew this was only a temporary solution.
I had heard about Elizabeth Fry and the Family Stepping Stones program in the past, got a referral through a nurse, and set up a meeting to try to get a spot in the program. I was grateful when a suite became available and I moved in.
Since then, I am so happy that I have that stability and the support that I needed. I have a nice apartment and have set up the nursery in preparation for my baby who is due any day. I now have a home where I feel safe and secure and am able to access services that I will need to be successful in the future. The other women in the building are like a community, and I even help to clean the building because I have pride in my home.
The program is two years long and I feel that I will continue to get the support and help to get into school to become a counsellor and help women like me. This program is giving me the opportunity to be confident with my future. I think this program provides empowerment and motivation for women to have a better life. The only thing that would make it better is if there were more suites to help other women. I feel that if I can do it, that others can do it too.

The Kamloops & District Elizabeth Fry Society is an active community-based non-profit agency that offers programs and services in the areas of housing and community justice to people in the Kamloops area, with a focus on women, gender-diverse people, and families. Their goal is to provide effective programs, services, and public education to contribute in building a healthy and safe community by minimizing barriers that individuals may experience, by meeting various needs of marginalized people in the community, and by fostering the individual’s personal growth and self-sufficiency.

The Read + Seed program is our annual fund that commits a portion of every book sold to the sponsorship of one community-based organization per year. Through this program, Read + Co offers funds to a chosen local organization in BC, Alberta, or the North—with an eye towards the local, innovative, or ground-level. People who are quietly working hard to grow sustainable art or literature-centric approaches to community building. For questions or to apply for next year’s fund, please email Heather Read at readandcobooks@gmail.com.