Charitable Choices: Zoe Peterson of Shelter Movers

For this edition of our Charitable Choices series we spoke with Zoe Peterson of Shelter Movers to find out more about their free moving and storage services that they provide to women and their children who are fleeing abusive homes.

Shelter Movers Vancouver volunteers

Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.

Shelter Movers provides free moving and storage services to women and their children who are fleeing abusive homes. We are volunteer powered, and the only organization of our kind in Canada.

What problem does it aim to solve?

We alleviate the financial and logistical burden of moving for women* who are leaving violent and unsafe homes. Our services allow women to safely retrieve their cherished belongings as they begin new chapters in their lives.

*Women are much more likely to experience violence and represent the vast majority of our clients, however our services are available to all survivors of abuse, regardless of gender identity.

When did you start/join it?

I started volunteering with Shelter Movers in the spring of 2020.

What made you want to get involved?

In spring 2020 we were still in full lockdown here in Vancouver, and people were beginning to understand that the lockdowns around the world were leading to an enormous rise in violence against women. The demand for Shelter Movers’ services spiked, but luckily so did community support. I remember my manager at the time telling me that Shelter Movers Vancouver received over 200 volunteer applications during that time.

What was the situation like when you started?

Before the pandemic, Shelter Movers Vancouver completed around 30 moves per quarter.

How has it changed since?

Shelter Movers Vancouver now completes at least 80 moves per quarter. This number is a concerning reflection of the spike in violence against women caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also speaks to the increase in volunteers and donors we had at Shelter Movers Vancouver. This swell of support has given us the ability to respond to more move requests than ever before.

What more needs to be done?

We are always looking to increase our services – to be able to assist more clients faster, and to expand the areas that we serve. To do that we must continue to grow our passionate volunteer base across the province.

How can our readers help?

We are looking for more dedicated volunteers and donors to join our team! To volunteer with us apply here:

or to donate to our cause click here:

All donations are very appreciated, as are fundraising events, like the Run Through Night fundraisers put on by our friend Peter Celler.

Volunteering with Shelter Movers is very flexible, and you are free to select which moves you sign up for depending on your schedule. We also have many remote volunteer opportunities on our administrative teams.

Do you have any events coming up?

We were at farmers markets around Vancouver throughout September and October, and it was so wonderful to speak to people in person and see the support and empathy the community has for our cause. You can follow us on social media for news on future donor and volunteer events.

Where can we follow you?

We are on Facebook and Instagram. Follow us to stay updated and show your support!

PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?

We work closely with a number of shelters and transition homes and one of our partners, Tri-City Transitions, always goes above and beyond. They do amazing work and definitely deserve a shout out!