Donations especially critical to Safe Harbour in winter

Safe Harbour Society provides an important service to many Red Deerians who otherwise wouldn’t have a safe place to be or a way out of addictions problems.

Executive Director Kath Hoffman said the best way to describe Safe Harbour and their programs is as a non-profit organization serving the community’s most vulnerable members including the homeless.

“Primarily we provide detox opportunities and housing and outreach programs as well as aboriginal supports,” said Hoffman.

The detoxification facility has 20 beds and Hoffman said there is always a waiting list for this service as it can be a vital step towards a healthy lifestyle for many people. Safe Harbour also has an outreach team that helps people find housing opportunities. They also have sharing circles and an elder on staff for aboriginal Red Deerians seeking help from the programs.

The last year has been a busy one for Safe Harbour as they continued to run their programs while working on business plans, policies and procedures and making sure that the foundation of the organization is solid.

“Donations are down this year, which we started to see last year as well, and we are feeling it right now with the winter season upon us.”

Safe Harbour has an ongoing wish list and Hoffman said that she is hoping to see the community come through as it has in the past. “We were born out of a community need and serve that community still,” said Hoffman.

Safe Harbour fundraising efforts are very different from some other organizations in that they are not banquets or galas but rather educational events where audience members walk away having learned something about their community.

“We’ve brought doctors in to educate the community on the different way of thinking about addictions and recognizing it as the chronic illness that it is.”

Hoffman said the importance of gearing their fundraisers this way is that they not only bring in funds for the programs but also help reduce the stigma of addictions.

Recently, Safe Harbour saw a donation of bottle money raised by a group of kindergarten children who also brought in socks and gloves, which Hoffman said are desperately needed at this time of year. “Children always want to help the homeless. Years ago when Alberta put out the prosperity cheques we had one little six-year-old girl donate the entire thing to us; she said she liked the sound of our name.”

Safe Harbour has been around in one shape or form since 2003 when they started out with just an overnight shelter. “We then went through the community process of establishing a detox centre and in 2007 moved to our current building to provide detoxification here.”

Hoffman said detoxification is just a drop in the bucket compared to the realm of services they provide at Safe Harbour.

“These services are really based on a continuum where we start out with a detox program and then continue on through housing and community support.”

Hoffman said there is no gauge for success at Safe Harbour as each person’s results are different from another. “Our success is when a person feels welcome here and is able to identify some of the goals that they want to reach. Success might be as simple as a person who woke up on the mat and decided they wanted to get into detox.”

Hoffman said one of the most important things that the community can do to help is simply to smile at strangers on the streets.

“If you make eye contact with them whether they’re homeless or not the results and the ripple effect are endless. That’s community and that’s us all being there for each other. It’s what Safe Harbour is all about.”

For more information, visit

Just Posted

WATCH: Mellisa Hollingsworth highlights Special Olympics Celebrity Breakfast

Olympic Bronze Medalist from Central Alberta shared her journey with a packed house

WATCH: Over 10,000 lbs of pet food given out to help Red Deer’s vulnerable

Alberta Animal Services and Red Deer Food Bank’s Kitchen Kibble will feed hundreds

Local coalition seeks to bolster youngsters’ development

‘Strengthening Positive Assets Resiliency in Communities’ supports local families

Central Alberta Humane Society presents cat yoga

Proceeds will be used to care for the shelter animals

Innisfail RCMP respond to fatal vehicle collision

A 22-year-old driver was ejected and pronounced deceased on scene

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Humboldt survivors to attend NHL Awards

Players say it’s a blessing to be back together again

Justice minister: marijuana still illegal for now

Driving under the influence of drugs has always been — and will remain — against the law

Crown recommends 150 years for Quebec mosque shooter

Crown lawyers say Alexandre Bissonnette deserves to receive the longest sentence in Canadian history

192 missing after ferry sinks in Indonesia

Divers are searching an Indonesian lake after a ferry sank earlier this week

No clear plan yet on how to reunite parents with children

A lawyer has documented more than 300 cases of adults who have been separated from a child

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Most Read