Our Community: Collecting coats for Cool Aid, cold walks for Our Place, grants for gender equality

Do your own fundraising walk for Cold Night of the Year

Our Place is hoping to see hundreds of ­people walking in their own neighbourhoods during its Coldest Night of the Year ­fundraiser this year.

Participants in the annual fundraiser typically gather at Our Place’s Victoria and Westshore locations on a single night for the fundraising walk, but health protocols prohibiting gatherings meant switching to a virtual walk this year.

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“This allows everybody to safely support Our Place by taking a walk around their own neighbourhood,” said Julian Daly, executive director at Our Place. “This walk allows the community to come together and show how much they care about the most vulnerable members of society.”

The walk in the cold gives people an opportunity to experience what so many people without homes endure every night, Daly said.

“On the coldest nights, we try to get as many people indoors as possible. But, ­unfortunately, there are still people left ­outside. ”

Participants can organize their own two to five-kilometre walks by themselves or form teams with members of their ­households or safe bubbles and collect pledges online.

After their walks, participants are encouraged to share “footsies” — selfies that show their walking shoes.

Last year, community walkers helped raise more than $70,000 for Our Place. Money raised will go towards serving ­hungry, homeless and hurting people in the community.

Because the event is virtual, people can take their walks anytime before Feb. 20.

Register online at ourplacesociety.com.

Winter warmup: collecting coats for Cool Aid

Help keep people living on the streets warm with a donation of men’s winter coats and jackets during Cool Aid’s annual coat drive.

This is the 13th year the social agency has been collecting coats, jackets and other winter gear for those living outdoors.

This year, donations have been much lower than in previous years, with a critical shortage of men’s coats and jackets.

They need about 200 men’s coats and jackets in a range of sizes, from medium to large, XL and XXL, to be distributed by Cool Aid and other agencies.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society helps 12,000 people in the capital region every year, operating from 20 locations in Victoria, Saanich and Langford.

Drop off donations of gently used or new men’s coats and jackets by Feb. 5 at the Rock Bay Landing shelter, 535 Ellice St. Call 250-383-1951 extension 1 to book a time. For more information, go to coolaid.org.

Victoria Foundation giving grants to support gender equality

The Victoria Foundation is distributing $300,000 to 12 organizations to support local projects advancing gender equality.

The Victoria Foundation is one of the participating community foundations in the Fund for Gender Equality, a new collaboration between Community Foundations of Canada and the Equality Fund, which is supported by the federal government.

The funding supports organizations whose core activities and vision are committed to the advancement of gender equality.

“We need to advance gender equality to create communities of true belonging across the country,” said Sandra Richardson, Victoria Foundation CEO. “By catalyzing the community foundation movement and the thousands of Canadians we connect with each day, we believe we can do more than just foster gender equality. We have an opportunity to begin removing the long-standing barriers to it.”

Bridges for Women Society, one of the grant recipients, will be using the funding to support its Indigenous Bridging Program, which helps Indigenous women living in the Songhees First Nation reserve overcome their histories of trauma.

Another grant will support the Pass It On Girls program, an initiative of the Circle Salt Spring Society. The cross-peer mentorship program for school-age girls encourages development of self-awareness and skills for healthy relationships.

The Victoria Foundation is Canada’s second-oldest community foundation and the sixth-largest in the country. Proceeds from its income-earning funds are distributed as grants for charitable or educational purposes.

For more information, go to victoriafoundation.ca.

Students’ writing contest on the Meaning of Home

There is still time for students in grades 4, 5 and 6 to enter a national writing contest to share what home means to them.

Hosted by Habitat for Humanity, the Meaning of Home writing contest encourages children to express their thoughts through a poem or short essay.

Participants will be eligible to win more than $180,000 in grants. The winner for each grade can direct a $30,000 grant towards a local Habitat build. Nine runners-up can direct a $10,000 grant towards a build.

Last year, Nathan Papps, a Grade 5 student at Glenlyon Norfolk School, won a grand prize for Where the Heart Lives, a poem that tells of how a family transforms a house into a home.

The contest ends Feb. 19. For more information, or to enter, go to meaningofhome.ca.

Grants available to cultural institutions for Family Day — but act quickly

Museums, art galleries, historic places, cultural heritage institutions and Indigenous communities are eligible for grants of up to $1,250 to cover the cost of staging free events during the Family Day long weekend, Feb. 12 to 15.

The B.C. Museums Association, in partnership with the Province of British Columbia, is offering grants for cultural institutions hosting free community activities this year.

Grants of up to $1,000 are available to support the creation of online cultural activities. Grants of up to $1,250 are available for organizations staging in-person activities.

“B.C. Family Day is an opportunity to spend time with our loved ones and celebrate family life in all of its diverse forms and expressions,” said Melanie Mark, minister of tourism, arts, culture and sport. “We know Family Day will look very different this year, and we want to ensure British Columbians have ways to come together safely. ”

Since 2019, Family Day funding has supported 120 activities in 64 communities across the province.

To ensure the safety of events and activities, applicants will be asked that their activities abide relevant public health orders.

The B.C. Museums Association acts as a cultural and heritage information hub for both museum professionals and the general public. It was founded in 1957.

The deadline for applications is 4:30 p.m. Monday or until all grant funds are allocated. For more information, or to apply, go to museumsassn.bc.ca/family-day-2021.

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