Toronto Star - Early Valentine’s Day love delivered to GTA women’s shelter

Members of the Sikh community gathered Sunday in Brampton to assemble care packages for local women’s shelters.

From left: Jasmine Malhi, Amanvir Hans, Vijayta Kaushal and Baljot Grewal were among a group of volunteers preparing care packages Sunday for Valentine's Day care packages for women's shelters.

For a handful of women’s shelters across Greater Toronto, a little bit of Valentine’s Day love came early.

A group of about 20 volunteers gathered Sunday in a legal office in Brampton to put together more than 300 care packages — filled with everything from tampons to toothpaste to cupcakes — and delivered them to five women’s shelters.

Since 2012, Sikh communities across the country, together with the World Sikh Organization of Canada, have been supporting the One Billion Rising campaign, a worldwide call to action that gets its name from the United Nations statistic that at least one in three women will be beaten, abused or raped.

“I’m a woman . . . that could be me, that could be someone I know. It’s such a big number, it’s so common, it’s so close . . . ,” said Gurleen Sidhu, who helped organize the care package initiative in Brampton.

Since domestic violence is something that people don’t often talk about, she said, she realizes it could be happening to those close to her without her knowing.

Sharanjeet Kaur, who also helped organize, made sure to get both her son and daughter involved, to talk to them about domestic violence.

“They are going to celebrate Valentine’s Day in their classrooms with typical cards and all that stuff, but I think they’re going to have another layer, that’s really important,” she said. “We are extremely blessed that on Valentine’s Day we will be surrounded by our loved ones, but we are now much more aware of those who will not be, and want to make sure from a community perspective, they know they are getting our thoughts as well.”

A staff member at one shelter said abusive situations can be isolating, and it’s important for women to know that help is there for them. That, and it’s nice to be remembered on Valentine’s Day, she added.

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