The Michael Ball trial has been held in St. Catharines since the end of January.

It’s a long drive from Kitchener, but the family of his alleged murder victim, Erin Howlett, has been able to be there every day.

“We certainly understand the necessity of having a trial in a new location for a second trial. But it doesn’t make it easy for us to have to travel two to three hours from where we currently live,” says Dane Howlett, Erin’s brother.

They’re able to make it work thanks to friends and a special organization: Tim’s Tribute.

Tim Bosma was murdered by Dellen Millard and Mark Smich in 2013. After that trial, Bosma’s widow set up the charity.

“It is dedicated to providing financial and emotional assistance to the families of innocent victims of homicide,” Sharlene Bosma says in a statement.

Tim’s Tribute has provided financial help to 35 families. Its counselling division, knowing as The Healing Tree, has supported more than a dozen families.

The Howlett family is thankful for something positive during a difficult trial far from home.

“Access some support to get us here, help us stay here and focus on things regarding Erin,” Dane Howlett says.

Sharlene Bosma says there’s been an increase in demand for the charity’s services. They’re holding a fundraising gala in the fall to help raise more money.