Andy Lou Somers was busy in the classroom when she got a call that would change her future.
The executive director of the East Prince Women’s Information Centre needed a moment to herself after the phone call from the Department for Women and Gender Equity to tell her EPWIC will be getting $235,000 in federal funding over the next five years.
“I had to go into my office, shut the door and I started to bawl,” said Somers. “That’s how excited we were.”
Women’s groups are chronically under-funded said the news release accompanying Egmont MP Bobby Morrisey’s announcement in Summerside Friday.
EPWIC is the only women’s group in Prince County. The funding means the group won’t have to close the doors between projects for lack of funds, said Somers.
The Aboriginal Women’s Association of P.E.I. Inc. was in the same boat. They’ll be getting $650,000 in funding.
Vice-president Marlene Thomas and Executive Director Samantha Lewis run the Lennox Island-based organization. They offer Indigenous skills and employment training among other projects.
“Wellalin,” said Thomas, thanking Morrissey in Mi’kmaq.
Action Femmes ÎPÉ, who did not have a representative present at the announcement, will receive $360,000.
Now the groups will be able to hire staff, offer continuous programs and cultivate partnerships with other groups and stakeholders – something there just hasn’t been time to do, said Somers.
The funding was awarded under the federal government’s Capacity Building Fund.
“It’s one thing to have a government program, but it takes a volunteer organization, and all the people supporting it, to take those funds and turn them into something productive and useful. I want you to know that I very much appreciate the role that you play and the work that you do,” said Morrissey.