JD Fitzgeralds fundraising for Women's Centre Outreach Store

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

The restaurant is collecting donations to help stock the Centre's Outreach Store for winter. FSJWRS Executive Director Emily Goodman explains the "store", which is free for those who use it, stocks non-perishable food items, warm clothes for women and children and essential household items.

"The Women's Outreach Store helps women who self-identify as low-income and in need to supply themselves with essential items that they might be struggling with acquiring on a regular basis, or maybe just on an emergency basis."
It can also stock work clothes, for women heading on job interviews. 
JD Fitzgeralds General Manager Kevin McKellar says he believes it's important for businesses like his to give back to the community, and that he sees the need for services like the Outreach Store.
"I just think that as a business we need to touch the community, give a little back," he says. "In this town, one of the unfortunate things I hear is there's a lot of single women in this town, whether they come up following guys that are coming up to work on the rigs and things don't work out and they end up getting pregnant, or break ups and they're left alone," he argues as a reason for choosing the FSJWRS to fundraise for.
Goodman says the store is also often the first point of contact with women who may benefit from other services the Centre provides.
"If a woman comes in and she knows that she needs noodles and a warm coat, if we're just meeting her for the first time we'll develop a relationship with that woman, and more often than not she's walking out the door with a lot more information, resources and tools than what she came [in] with."
Over 70 different women access the store in Fort St. John each week.  The Bus Pass Program, which gives free bus passes to low-income mothers and their children, is also run through the store.
So far the campaign has been successful, as it raised approximately $1,000 in just its first week. McKellar says the overall goal is to raise $5,000 in cash and items. Any donation over $25, including items with a receipt, can get a tax receipt.
For every donation made, a "Cheers" card will be given to the donor, which could be good for a complimentary dessert or appetizer, or even a dinner for two. The restaurant is also keeping track of who makes donations, and the largest donor will receive a night at the Quality Inn in the Sweetheart Suite and $100 to JD Fitzgeralds.
"It's giving something back to the people who are taking the time to donate," says McKellar.
The fundraiser will go until December 18. The donations will then go to the Women's Resource Society, for which Goodman says she is extremely thankful for.
"They're investing a lot of time, money and energy into supporting this and we're really, really grateful."
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