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Charity that helps move, store items for those fleeing abuse coming to Winnipeg

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A charitable organization helping those fleeing abuse is expanding into Winnipeg to address the rising need for support.

According to Statistics Canada, Manitoba had one of the highest rates of police-reported intimate partner violence in the country in 2022.

To meet the need, Shelter Movers is planning to open a chapter in the province.

The organization provides free moving and storage services to individuals and families fleeing abusive situations.

Sam Stiles, Shelter Movers' growth and expansion manager, says the majority of its clients are women, as they are disproportionately affected by gender-based violence.

Moving and storage fees can be a barrier to those trying to exit an abusive situation, she says.

"Of course, there are many other barriers, but moving and getting those logistics together, and they may not have the friends or family support to help them move," she said.

"They don't have to worry about it with us. They don't have to do anything, really. We plan everything and just show up and help them move or get back and get their items safely."

There's no time limit to using Shelter Movers' services, whether they left months ago or yesterday. The organization will also store their items for as long as they need.

Winnipeg will mark the organization’s 10th Canadian chapter. The goal is to begin operating in late fall of 2024.

To make it a reality, the organization is actively recruiting volunteers. To help, you must be 18 years or older.

Hours are based on the volunteer's schedule.

"You decide if you want to go on a move on a Friday night and help somebody go back to an abusive situation, get their items safely, of course, and you walk away feeling really great about it."

Details on how to volunteer can be found on Shelter Movers' website.

- With files from CTV's Maralee Caruso

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