Langley resident Jaime Pederson is once again hoping to give back to the women’s program that turned her life around more than three years ago.
When Pederson arrived at the B.C. Women’s Hospital Fir Square centre, she was addicted to drugs and pregnant.
“When I went in there I had nothing,” Pederson said. Now Pederson’s three-year-old daughter is thriving, Pederson herself has been clean and sober since her time at Fir Square and she has been working and giving back to the community she lives in.
Because she credits Fir Square with changing her life for the better and offering such “huge” support, she has made it her goal to give back to them each year at Christmas.
This will be her third year of bringing items for the pregnant women at the centre.
She spends all year collecting bottles to buy little goodies and useful items.
This year, she bought pairs of magic gloves and socks for the women. She has gathered magazines for them to read and some toiletries, including shampoo and toothbrushes.
But she is hoping the community will come through again this year to help give the women a new start. There are 12 beds at the centre.
Pederson is looking for toothbrushes and toothpaste, as well as other toiletries. She is also looking for gently used women’s clothing, maternity and regular, as well as baby clothes for newborns to three months. They also would appreciate any sweets as well.
“Last year, when I went there I recognized a women I knew from Hastings Street. When I brought them the goodies and spoke my truth to them she told me I made her Christmas,” said Pederson.
“She told me, ‘If you can do it, then so can I.’ It’s been an awesome response from these women.”
For Pederson, going back each year is important.
“It’s grounding,” she said.
She believes the key to change is in stopping the cycle of addiction when children are young, so they don’t grow up with it.
“It’s a family disease and we need to break the cycle. For my daughter, she is growing up in a clean and sober household and I think that’s important,” Pederson said.
Fir Square offers support and care for pregnant women struggling with substance abuse. It offers withdrawal management during pregnancy and post-partum, caring and non-judgmental counseling, assistance with housing and medical care as well as parenting groups.
“Often, women come from up north and drop everything to be here, so they come with nothing,” she said. “I know that to feel cared for at Christmastime for these women is huge.”
If you would like to help, you can drop off items to the Langley Times office, 20258 Fraser Hwy., until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11.
Pederson is also looking for help to organize next year’s campaign. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.