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Richmond domestic abuse victim left on Christmas sidelines because of lack of ID

Christmas Fund CEO says they have to prove recipients are from Richmond.
A Richmond woman was in a bind when she couldn’t get help for the holidays because she doesn’t have identification. SDI Productions/E+/Getty Images

A woman, who has recently fled domestic violence and now lacks any proper identification, said it feels like “the Grinch” stole her Christmas after she couldn’t access help for the holidays from the Richmond Christmas Fund.

The resident, who wanted to remain anonymous due to safety reasons, said she’s “living in fear” after fleeing domestic violence. She turned to the Richmond Christmas Fund for help for the holiday season.

The Christmas Fund, organized by Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives (RCRG), helps low-income families celebrate the winter holidays every year.

However, the resident was turned away as she couldn't provide the appropriate information or ID, which was all left behind when she fled her home in a rush with her children.

“When the time came to get up and go and actually leave, so much was left behind including IDs, care cards and other items,” she said, adding it could take up to six months to receive her new ID.

“Starting over again has been tough, but I’m working to get back on my feet.”

She added there should be leeway for Christmas Fund applications that need to be anonymous for safety reasons.

“It’s like the Grinch stealing Christmas.”

Ed Gavsie, president and CEO of RCRG, explained one of the core requirements of the Christmas Fund is for people to present proof of residency in Richmond.

“As this is a 100-per-cent community-supported program, our donors expect us to do some vetting of those people seeking help,” Gavsie told the Richmond News.

“As you can appreciate, we are unable to help people from throughout the Lower Mainland or province for that matter. We want to help people, not deny them.”

The woman told the Richmond News she had to be careful where she put her name and her children’s names when it came to databases to make sure she couldn’t be tracked.

She questioned if similar programs and organizations could make future changes when it comes to safety concerns.

“They may come across this situation every once in a while or maybe never, but it is unfair to have this taken away … because of strict protocol,” she said.

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