COCHRANE— Rallying the community together to support those fleeing domestic abuse, Brio Boutique held a virtual fundraiser in support of Big Hill Haven.
Brio Boutique owner Toni Montanaro was on hand to present $1,400 to Big Hill Heaven representatives Tara McFadden and Jacquie Matechuk at the shop on Friday (Feb. 12).
Montanaro said as a mother with two young children the important place Big Hill Haven holds in Cochrane struck close to home.
“I love the community we live in. I love the schools my kids attend and I just keep thinking what if that was me?” Montanaro said. "That resonated with my heart."
As part of the fundraiser, Brio hosted a sweat top sale. The special “Brio Babe” tops placed the Big Hill Haven logo on the left-hand sleeve of the top to symbolize the heart. The sweat tops were designed by NIKSTAR productions.
Montanaro said she is grateful to the community for rising to the occasion and helping support an important need in the community.
Brio has been working with Big Hill Haven for three years and has been continually inspired by the non-profit, Montanaro said. She added from the beginning she was struck by the importance of having a women’s shelter in the community.
“All of us know somebody, I think, unfortunately, that has been through that,” Montanaro said.
It was a different experience hosting a fundraiser this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she added, explaining they could not host the fundraising fashion show as they did in 2020.
They found immediate success with the fashion show and are looking forward to one day being able to host one again as a fundraiser for Big Hill Haven when health measures are eased.
“I think every dollar is important and we're just going to keep on giving,” Montanaro said.
Big Hill Haven board member Jacquie Matechuk has been working with the non-profit for more than three years, she said, and it has been inspiring to see Cochrane community members and businesses rally around the women's shelter.
“People here just give. They give when they have barely anything to give,” Matechuk said. “There’s a lot of pride in taking care of our own.”
Big Hill Haven remains a forward-driven non-profit and is on the ground helping people in need.
Jacquie said the organization is continuously building momentum and is ready to provide outreach and housing options to those in need.
The continued support from businesses and people in the community is helping to ensure Big Hill Haven can provide aid to those seeking to escape domestic abuse.
“Every dollar that is coming in is going toward freeing and alleviating the issues that people are trying to deal with,” Jacquie said. “It’s giving people a second chance.”
As the owner of Cochrane Floors and More, Matechuk said, she understands the challenges many businesses have faced during the pandemic.
It makes the support they have received from businesses like Brio Boutique all the more meaningful.
“To find time and room in your plans, in your hearts to go above and beyond and step up the way Brio has it’s just so next level. It’s so indicative of the character within this community,” Matechuk said.
Each donation makes a big difference in helping women and families who come to Big Hill Haven, said funds development officer Tara McFadden.
It is amazing to see Brio Boutique and other businesses in the community step up and provide aid, she said, adding these acts have become all the more important during COVID-19 and the economic hardship the virus has created for many.
“Cochrane is always an amazing community that comes together, but today when times are tight for businesses, when they’re having to adapt, when they’re struggling, when they’re revenues are not what they were last year— To have these business step up and find a way to make a difference it’s worth huge applause,” McFadden said.