The words, music and inspiration of women from Steinbach and the surrounding area will be toasted at the upcoming Agape House fundraiser, on March 10 at the Pat Porter Active Living Centre.

Styled “Women, Wine & Theatre,” the event, sponsored by SGI Canada, will be an opportunity for donors, supporters and friends of Agape House to come together and hear poetry and musical storytelling by local female artists, and to enjoy some Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sandra Paris, Fundraiser and events coordinator at Agape House, says it’s important that other women, as well as girls, boys and men, see women in a positive light.

“We thought that for International Women’s Day we’d celebrate women for who they are and the contributions they’ve made and continue to make,” she explains. “This event will bring women, men, companies, and corporations under one roof for dialogue and celebration.”

Over the past number of years, especially since the outbreak of the pandemic, Agape House has noticed an increase of women and children in crisis, and an increased cost of living has only exacerbated prices of food and clothing.

“There’s a lot of strain on society, there’s a lot of strain on women to make ends meet,” says Paris, adding that the organization’s catchment area expands as far north as Beausejour and eastward to the Ontario border.

“It’s a large geographical area and we're seeing crisis calls coming in from all around it,” she says. “We need staff to provide services, but the money we’re trying to raise will allow us to continue to work in the entire region as well.”

Adding to demands on budget is an increased outreach to fathers. Paris points out that dads are also increasingly experiencing trauma, and that healing needs to be all-encompassing. The physical Steinbach shelter will continue to safe keep women and children, but the workloads and demands on counsellors mean Agape House needs more of them.

The fundraising target for Wine, Women & Theatre is $60,000.

Agape House

Individual tickets are just $25 and can be purchased online. Each ticket includes hors d’oeuvres, a glass of wine and the evening’s entertainment. Paris would also like to see more table sales (each table seats 8), and suggests local businesses can provide a table to their outstanding employees or customers. Or, she says, they can simply donate the table back to Agape House.

Emceed by Carly Koop, Wine, Women & Words will feature the poetry of Ruth Morris and Miracle Campeau, theatre from Sadie Lavoie and music storytelling by Wanda Wilson and Shelley Marshall. Holly Ammerman will be the keynote speaker.

“Holly is really, really good,” says Paris. “At the last event we had Holly, I was moved to tears. She really gets in there. A lot of people speak, but she speaks from the heart.”

The event will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 10 at the Pat Porter Active Living Centre. More information is available online, as are tickets, and anyone interested in attending can also call (204) 326-6062.

Concludes Paris: “It’s time for women to be fully recognized for the part they play in society, in our own communities."

Agape House