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Our Community: Book sale raises funds to reunite Syrian family

A sponsor of a Syrian family living in Duncan has organized a book sale to raise money to reunite the family with relatives living in a refugee camp.

A sponsor of a Syrian family living in Duncan has organized a book sale to raise money to reunite the ­family with relatives living in a refugee camp.

Rana Faris, Ali al Hamadi and their two small ­children came to Canada four years ago, settling in the Duncan area. With her family safely in Canada, Faris wants to help her sister and her family, now living in a refugee camp in Jordan, to immigrate to this country as well. The situation is urgent, as two of the sister’s children have a genetic eye disease and will go blind without treatment.

Faris has been spearheading most of the fundraising, including hosting dinners at Church of St. Peter ­Quamichan, Duncan. Rhoda Taylor, the family’s sponsor, is helping by hosting a book sale at the Duncan United Church, Jan. 28. She has gathered a “huge trove” of books, all to be sold by donation.

The event runs 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Duncan United Church, 246 Ingram St., Duncan.

• For more information, contact Taylor at

>>> Team up for a good cause

All 45 real estate agents representing Sotheby’s ­International Realty on Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island have banded together to form a ­Community Engagement Committee, with the goal of raising funds for charitable causes in the future.

At an informal event held over the holidays, the group managed to raise more than $4,000 for the ­Women’s Transition House.

“At the brokerage level, all of the offices on ­Vancouver Island tend to do their own things to ­support their communities,” said Christine Ryan, ­managing partner at the company’s Victoria office, which is locally owned and operated. “The beauty of this ­committee is to give representation and inclusion for all of our agents in every part of the island.”

She said that unlike other corporate fundraising ­initiatives, this one is made up of locals, with funds raised only benefiting local charities. “We expect great things to come from the committee this year with lots of giving,” said Ryan.

For more information, go to

>>> Drawn to national art prize

Submissions are being accepted for the 5th biennial Salt Spring National Art Prize, with $50,000 in awards and a top prize of $20,000 on offer.

The competition is open to Canadian citizens and ­permanent residents of Canada age 18 and older. In 2021, it received more than 2,000 entries.

“It will be so exciting to see the art submitted for the fifth biennial national exhibition taking place here on Salt Spring Island,” said Ronald T. Crawford, founding director of Salt Spring National Art Prize Society, which administers the show. “I am very proud of the over 200 artists from every province and territory in Canada that we have showcased since 2015.”

The mandate of the society is to recognize, ­showcase and publicize the accomplishments of Canadian ­visual artists — and to advance public appreciation of ­Canadian visual arts. About 50 finalists will be ­chosen by the jury and have their artwork shown at an ­exhibition held Sept. 22 to Oct. 22. Award winners will be announced at a finalist gala on Oct. 21, which will also be livestreamed across Canada.

Nominations are not required; the entry fee is $30 per submission. Submissions close midnight, May 31.

• For more information, go to

>>> Targeting invasive ivy

The Greater Victoria Green Team is looking for ­volunteers to help remove invasive English ivy from the forest on the University of Victoria’s Queenswood Campus, Jan. 28. Participants will be provided with tools, snacks and hot chocolate for their efforts. The event runs 9:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting from the Ocean Networks Canada parking lot at 2474 Arbutus Rd. Meet inside the yellow metal gate off Haro Road, by the gazebo. The Greater Victoria Green Team’s activities are designed to empower people to make a difference in their communities, learn about environmental issues and meet like-minded people.

• For more information, to sign up or get ­directions, go to

>>> Métis families food drive

The Métis Nation British Columbia is set to provide food relief to low-income Métis families with the launch of its Mîcôwin (Food) Program, Jan. 23.

Food costs have risen five to seven per cent as a result of COVID-19-related disruptions to the food ­supply chain, inflation and other factors. “We have heard from Métis families in communities that ­rising inflation has had a direct impact on their ability to afford vital groceries,” said Debra Fisher, Métis Nation B.C. minister of children and families. “Our board of directors is committed to supporting our citizens and families in their time of need.”

Applicants must be Métis citizens (or in the process of obtaining citizenship) and have children and youth 18 years and under.

The application form can be found at Applicants are advised to allow at least seven to 14 days or processing.

>>> Help for thousands

The Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller was able to provide more than 17,000 meals and assist more than 4,000 youth, individuals and ­families over the holidays, thanks in part to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund.

The fund provided $200,000 to the ­ecumenical, ­international Christian organization to provide resources for service providers in community.

“The Times Colonist stepped up in a big way,” said Bob Plecas, commander of the order, who said the ­contribution means thousands of seniors living in ­poverty or sickness, the working poor, ­marginalized individuals, people living hand to mouth on the street with mental and physical health problems and ­addictions will have food to eat. “The only way to fight insidious problems is by ­working together, combining resources in a caring community, [which] is the true meaning of this holiday season.”

• For more information, go to

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