Today, Eskimos President and CEO Len Rhodes, in partnership with the adidas Group, donated 300 pairs of shoes to the Edmonton Women’s Shelter. The donation has personal significance to Rhodes.

During today’s announcement, he shared his personal story of witnessing his late father abuse his mother while under the influence of alcohol.

Today’s donation provides enough footwear to allow the women and children the shelter serves over the next year to focus on self-healing and not worry about basic necessities.

Edmonton Women’s Shelter, commonly known as WIN House, is a non-profit agency operating three shelters. The WIN Houses are open 24-hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year for women with or without children escaping situations of abuse and violence.

“It is very generous of the Edmonton Eskimos to deliver hundreds of pairs of new shoes to Edmonton Women’s Shelter this fall.” says Executive Director Tess Gordey. “The shoes are a great gift for women and children fleeing domestic violence, in that they help meet one of many basic needs families have when starting abuse-free lives. Women and children often come to our emergency shelters with absolutely nothing but the clothes they are wearing.  Putting shoes on their children’s feet, especially with winter around the corner, is now one less thing for moms to worry about. We are extremely grateful for the donation.”

This marks the fourth donation by the Eskimos in partnership with the adidas Group. Nearly 1,300 shoes have been donated to date for women and children fleeing domestic violence.

The annual donation is one of several initiatives the Green and Gold support to end violence against women and children.

The Edmonton Eskimos partner with the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters on the Leading Change program.  Through the program, select players underwent three days of intensive training in gender-based violence prevention and present the messages to young athletes, coaches and students at community events and schools.

Last month, Rhodes participated in the CFL’s announcement of a violence against women policy. The policy was developed in partnership with the Ending Violence Association of Canada and following consultations with multiple women who are experts in the field of responding to violence against women. These experts work regularly with CFL teams to deliver outreach and public education programs.