Fundraiser planned for Magdalene House Society

  • Aug. 15, 2012 3:49 p.m.

A Red Deer organization dedicated to providing care for those caught in human trafficking is gearing up for a fundraiser in September.

The Charity Golf Tournament on behalf of the Magdalene House Society runs Sept. 12 at the Whispering Pines Golf and Country Club with registration at 8 a.m. Those interested in sponsoring a hole for $200 or donating an item for a silent auction can call Alison at 403-506-6582.

Golfers are invited to join in teams of four, and individuals can register and be placed with others to form a team. Registration is $125 per person. Those interested can call Jessica to register at 403-506-1394 or email for a registration package.

Magdalene House Society is in the process of raising funds for an aftercare facility for people who are trafficked. As their web site points out, services will be available to any and all persons who have been deemed victims of human trafficking.

Magdalene House will ensure proper medical and psychological care and legal assistance for the residents while providing opportunities to learn English, helping them to discover the benefits of the Canadian culture and also helping them find meaningful work through educational programs, employment training and other support services.

They also aim to educate the public by providing seminars about human trafficking, said David Bouchard, president of the Society.

Magdalene House was registered as a Society in the spring of 2009. By the next year, they had obtained charitable status. Since then, they’ve been working hard to fundraise for a facility and spread the word about the dangers and prevalence of human trafficking.

“Our goal is to raise $160,000 before we actually open the doors,” said Bouchard, referring to the plan of one day leasing a facility. “We’re not going to build right off the start. We’re actually going to lease a place until we have a capital campaign big enough to do that.” Volunteers and hired staff would be onhand to offer a range of services and programs.

These days, Bouchard is working to educate the public about the realities of human trafficking, and that’s it’s not an issue only in faraway nations.

“People say ‘You can’t mean that this is happening in Canada’ so I share about some of the incidents,” he said. But there is a need, and a desperate need to see a facility for those escaping the chains of human trafficking, he said.

“There is a definite need, and anybody I talk to about this does agree with that. We just have to find the tools to be able to make that happen.

“We would be ready to operate 90 days from the day we get the funding of $160,000. Besides doing the fundraising, our board has been busy making sure we have the programs in place.” Bouchard is open to doing presentations at local organizations and churches to help educate folks on the vision of Magdalene House and the realities of human trafficking.

“One of the things we recognize is that some people prefer to have blinders on when it comes to issues of justice. They think ‘It’s not happening to me, or to the circle of people I’m connected with, so therefore I’m going to block it out of my reality’.

But Bouchard said if people take the time to hear about the issue, they are affected by it and moved to want to help. “They’ve always been very supportive once they hear the message. We are very pleased with the people that have supported us, and look forward to more people getting connected.”

He encourages anyone interested to sign up as a member of Magdalene House Society; that way, they can stay on top of the latest news via a newsletter.

Meanwhile, further down the road, another fundraising event, the Rotary Sunrise Triple Crown Evening is set for Sept. 29 at the Sheraton Hotel. Things get underway at 5:30 p.m.

Participants bet on videotaped horse races with ‘Rotary crowns’ with the chance of winning one of several great prizes, he said. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Magdalene House Society, Aspire and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Red Deer & District.

The Society also held a successful 200 km Bicycle Tour on July 28-29 and 20 cyclists raised $15,000. “The oldest one in the tour was 73 and the youngest was 21, so it was a great mixture of people,” said Bouchard. Another is already being planned for next July as well.

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