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Cast a purple light in support of domestic violence victims

Red Deer and area first in Alberta to participate
Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff Soroptomist International of Central Alberta member Sherri Smith with some of the lights that are available for the Central Alberta Purple Lights Nights campaign. November is Family Violence Prevention Month.

Central Albertans will see special purple lights turned on at night during November to signal a message to the community.

Two Red Deer groups have collaborated and joined an international movement that raises awareness about domestic violence. The purple lights are a symbol to remember victims who lost their lives, support survivors, and bring hope to those who still live with abuse.

Soroptimist International of Central Alberta is partnering with the local Domestic and Relationship Violence Initiative Committee (DRVIC) to establish a Purple Light Nights campaign, Sherri Smith said Thursday.

Smith, a member of the local Soroptimist group — a women’s organization that helps other women and girls — said Red Deer is the first community in Alberta to participate in the program.

DRVIC also puts on other events in November, which is Family Violence Prevention Month. The committee is comprised of local agencies, including Women’s Outreach, Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter, Legal Aid and RCMP, who share information and resources about domestic violence.

Smith said people are encouraged to purchase the purple lights or use their own string of lights to show awareness about domestic violence in the community.

The purple lights are available to purchase at several different locations, including some FCSS offices in Central Alberta such as the Penhold Library in the Multiplex and Magdalene House Society at the Town Centre Mall, 107, 4929 - 50th St. in Red Deer. A list of the locations can be found on Facebook at Central Alberta Purple Light Nights.

The lights cost $2 for a 60-watt bulb; $3, or two for $5, for 75-watt bulbs. A few strings of various sizes of the purple lights are also available., Smith said.

In addition, a blanket sponsor program is also being offered. The blankets, created by burn survivor Kelly Falardeau, say “You are loved. You are needed. You are wanted.” and can be sponsored for $40 per blanket and are given to women and children in shelters. Over 10 blankets are sponsored already, Smith said.

Local Soropotimists also have a major fundraiser every year called Pyjamas and Pearls, which will be held Nov. 5. Funds go toward the group’s awards programs, which support women and girls. Anyone wanting to purchase tickets for that event or who wants more information about the purple lights can contact Smith at 403-391-7912.