‘It breaks my heart’: Women’s shelter loses furniture donations in Christmas Eve fire

A massive Christmas Eve fire in Headingley, Man. destroyed furniture and other donations for a shelter that helps women escaping abuse and exploitation.

Multiple fire trucks were called to the scene of the blaze on the property of a modular homes business just outside of Winnipeg around 6 p.m. Thursday.

Stacey Bugsdrucker said donations she’d been helping to collect included lamps, bath towels, chairs and a sectional for a shelter called STFC.

“We’ve been collecting it for the last couple of months,” she said. “People have been just so generous and that’s why it breaks my heart.”

Also among the items destroyed in the fire were art supplies, which Bugsdrucker said can be especially important for people coping with trauma.

Among the items lost in the Headingley fire were lamps, bath towels, chairs and a sectional earmarked for the shelter. (Submitted by Josh Genn)

“A lot of times, people cannot express themselves vocally, so art supplies are essential for people to express themselves,” she said.

Bugsdrucker runs a home improvement company called Chick With A Brush, and was helping to repaint the shelter to “fill it up with as much love as possible” before the donated furniture was moved in.

For her, the job hit close to home. When Bugsdrucker escaped to a shelter from an abusive relationship 27 years ago, she remembers how cold the space felt, and how hard it was to imagine a future for herself.

“These women have been through hell and back … To have a place to go to where you can feel warm and safe and look forward to a future — that, to me, is important,” she said.

“This was my way of giving back. And then when it went up in smoke, it was just … it hurt.”

Now, she’s hoping the community will pull together to replace the donations that were destroyed. Anyone who wants to help can send her a message on the Chick With A Brush Facebook page, she said.

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