Tammy Junghans is sitting in her Native Studies class at the University of Manitoba in a onesie, but it isn’t because she’s lazy. The 37-year-old student and mother of four is leading a fundraiser in support of The Salvation Army’s S.N.O.W (Safe Night Off Winnipeg streets) event for women working in the sex trade.
“Our entire student executive has committed to wearing their pyjamas to school this week,” says Junghans.
They hope to collect enough new pyjamas for this year’s sixth annual S.N.O.W Night on February 21, which invites women to a worry-free night of spa treatments, games, and a new pair of pyjamas. Several organizations supporting the event like Sage House, Klinic, and Mount Carmel Clinic will offer their support and services to participants.
“For the participants, having a moment to just relax and to not worry about violence or being called names is really important, because that’s something a lot of the women have been through,” says Dianna Bussey, Chair of The Salvation Army Territorial Anti-Human Trafficking Network.
“We do this to build relationships and to make sure the women know that people care. We want to raise awareness among the women themselves that they are worth it.”
Professionals and fun facilitators who volunteer their time will provide manicures, salon treatments, and entertainment for participants. Medical and counseling support will be available to the women who attend the safe night.
“We have had overwhelming volunteer support,” says volunteer coordinator Kristi Havens from Mount Carmel Clinic. “It lets participants know that as organizations and people we care about them. We hope that through building these relationships that the women involved will seek out our services if they need them.”
Donations of new pyjamas are being collected at the University of Manitoba’s Student Union office and The Salvation Army. New blankets, pillows, spa supplies and monetary donations are also being accepted at The Salvation Army.
“It’s cool to see an outpouring of donations and to see that people in Winnipeg really do care. And even better to see how strong the women involved are,” says Bussey.
“Planning for the upcoming SNOW Night on February 21 is going great,” she adds, “but we still need a number of things.”
Bussey says, they need larger sized pyjamas, financial donations, contact for obtaining excellently priced comforters, socks and slippers, regular sized shampoos, conditioners, body washes and lotions, spa supplies (great cause for cleaning out all those unused items in the bathroom cupboards), nail polish (used is okay here), licensed massage therapists and licensed hair dressers for cutting hair or those who want to just do styling.
For a volunteer like Junghans, the UofM student is happy she gets to wear her red and white polar bear onesie to class (yes–it has ‘footies’), and she empathizes with women who may not experience that type of innocent kind of fun on a regular basis.
“Pyjama Week is about identifying with things that are lost for a lot of women who are involved in trafficking,” she says.
For more information on how you can help Safe Night Off Winnipeg streets, click on: S.N.O.W. NIGHT