Our Community: Moon festival lands in Saanich, grocers raise money for imaging tool

The District of Saanich is inviting the ­public to its Moon Festival Lantern ­Celebration on Sept. 18 — a free, outdoor event being held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. It takes place at Lambrick Park and the area outside the Gordon Head Recreation Centre.

“We are so pleased to welcome our diverse community to come together safely and creatively for this treasured outdoor community celebration for all ages,” said Saanich community events programmer Rob Phillips.

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“It’s an opportunity to reconnect and mark the harvest moon and the coming of fall — a practice celebrated by many ­cultures and appreciated by everyone.”

The district said that celebrating the ­harvest moon is common in many Asian cultures. The event will feature cultural entertainment, lantern displays and a ­community lantern procession at twilight.

People are encouraged to dress up with light or bring their own battery-lit lanterns, and there will be limited supplies for ­creating lanterns on site.

Food trucks will be available.

The celebration will go ahead rain or shine.

Housing society contest marks 65 years

The Greater Victoria Housing Society is marking its 65th birthday with a community contest where the public is invited to share stories of the positive impact of the society’s affordable housing.

The group was founded in 1956 by a number of people with a vision to create affordable housing for seniors. There were just 26 homes at the start, but the society now provides more than 932 homes and has plans to continue to grow.

The contest began Aug. 28 and runs until Sept. 30. Current and former tenants, members of the staff or board, neighbours and people in the community are invited to share a story in any format through the society’s website. Photographs and art are also welcome.

Entrants could win one of 15 Buy Local gift cards.

Lisa Edwards, chairwoman of the society’s board of directors, said the contest will provide a good look at the organization’s history.

“What a great way to celebrate the accomplishments of the first 65 years of the society,” she said. “We look forward to sharing the memories that our community members have of GVHS, and learning more about the positive impact that affordable housing has made in the lives of so many.”

• Enter the contest online at ­greatervichousing.org/contest.

Grocers raise funds for imaging

The B.C. Cancer Foundation is joining with grocers around Vancouver Island to raise $500,000 for life-saving imaging technology to benefit prostate-cancer patients.

The Future Cures Campaign began Sept. 8 and runs through Nov. 8, with help from Fairway Market, Thrifty Foods, Country Grocer, Quality Foods, 49th Parallel Grocery and Tru Value Foods. The companies are collectively calling themselves the Future Cures Coalition.

Thrifty Foods will match donations up to $125,000 until Nov. 8.

Funds will be used to purchase PSMA-PET or Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen-Positron Emission Tomography, which can help pinpoint the exact location of prostate cancer and show if it has spread.

The foundation said that over 6,000 Vancouver Island residents will be diagnosed with cancer this year, with prostate cancer the most common for men.

The public can contribute through stores, or donations can be made at www.bccancerfoundation.com/futurecures.

Partnership supports students

The United Way Southern Vancouver Island (formerly United Way Greater Victoria) is combining on a matching fund with CIBC Wood Gundy’s Blue Heron Advisory Group.

The partnership comes as United Way embarks on a fundraising effort to to support preschool and after-school programs, art-therapy groups and reading programs. In addition, students feeling anxious about returning to in-person classes after a year of online learning will be supported with counselling.

Every dollar raised up to $250,000 will be matched by the advisory group.

United Way chief executive Mark Breslauer thanked the group for its generosity.

“Families on the edge of poverty have been hit hard during COVID and continue to cope with the lingering effects of the pandemic in their lives,” he said. “This transformational gift and the matching opportunity it presents will open many doors to resources to help families get back on track.”

Breslauer said half the donated funds will benefit children and youth’s mental-health services through the Blur Love Campaign, while the other half will support local children’s charities to ensure kids “have a strong foundation to cope with life’s challenges.”

One in 10 capital region children is living in poverty and rising gas and food prices are leading to struggles for some families, the United Way said.

“We believe that the success of our community is best measured by the opportunities it provides its most vulnerable citizens,” said Graham Isenegger, co-founder of the Blue Heron Advisory Group.

Donations can be made at uwsvi.ca.

Grandmothers riding for Africa

Victoria Grandmothers for Africa wrap up their 15th annual Cycle Tour today by riding 3.5 kilometres from Central Park to Mile 0 — with Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps joining in to lead the way.

The start is at 10 a.m.

The tour, done virtually again this year, will be completed by 65 women with an average age of 70. The tour will have covered the equivalent of 18,000 kilometres across sub-Saharan Africa and the Great Trail across Canada.

The group generated a record $145,000 in last year’s ride, and has raised close to $1.5 million since 2006 in support of African grandmothers who care for their grandchildren after they have been orphaned by AIDS-related illness.

Donations can be made at victoriagrandmothersforafrica.ca.

jbell@timescolonist.com

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