COVID-19 isn’t stopping central Albertans from putting on high heels to raise awareness for gender-based violence.
The Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Centre is currently hosting its annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundraiser virtually until Sunday.
“I’m very thankful for everybody who has participated and is still participating. I’m happy with where we’re at, given the economic situation and COVID-19 situation that we’re in,” said Barb Barber, executive director of the centre.
“This definitely sends the message that we, as a community, are taking a stand against domestic violence.”
In past years, walkers would gather outside the outreach centre to walk one mile in high heels. This year’s walk, which began last Friday, is being held virtually due to the current pandemic.
“When you can get together as a group, there’s a certain excitement and level of energy. When you do it virtually, you tend to lose that connection,” she said.
“But what it has also done is bring people forward to be creative and truly supportive in a totally different way.”
The walk is generally the centre’s largest fundraiser of the year, said Barber.
“It’s very important for us. We need to fundraise about 10 to 12 per cent of our annual budget, so this definitely goes a long way toward that. It supports those programs and services for individuals and families affected by domestic violence.”
Many participants have posted videos and photos of themselves walking in high heels on social media.
“Everybody walks for their own personal reasons and everybody supports for their own personal reasons,” she said.
“More than the effect it has on us as an agency, people in our community will see people are walking for them and supporting them. I think that is much greater than anything else.”
Last year’s event had about 200 participants. Barber said she’s unsure how many are participating this year.
“I know there were definitely some people who were able to support this last year, but this year, people are in a much different situation and I understand that.”
“But I think people also need to know that sometimes, it’s the little dollar amounts that add up.”
Anyone interested in participating is asked to visit womensoutreach.ca.