Our Community: Dealer joins with Cool Aid, insurer to give car to someone in need

You can still nominate someone in need to receive a refurbished 2004 Chevrolet Malibu that’s insured for three months.

King’s Auto Sales is joining with the Victoria Cool Aid Society for the giveaway. Cool Aid provides services such as supportive housing and health care to adults who are marginalized.

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Lori Angelini, Cool Aid’s manager of philanthropy, said several compelling nominations have already been received, and it will be hard to pick just one person.

“I have to have a box of tissues with me as I’m reading some of them.”

She gave the example of one nominee who works with children with autism. Her job requires driving to clients’ homes, and her car is almost ready to pack it in.

Another hopeful is a mother who has just gone through chemotherapy.

“Battling cancer, low income and really needs a car,” Angelini said.

She said a car would make a big difference to the entire family.

David King of King’s Auto Sales is doing a wonderful thing with the giveaway, Angelini said.

“I’ve known him for a while and he’s very community-minded and always thinking about giving back,” she said. “So I think this is definitely in line with his values.”

Maxxam Insurance is giving three months of insurance for the car and Lubrico Warranties is providing a warranty.

King said the event is part of one-year anniversary celebrations at his Langford business.

He will join Cool Aid staff in choosing the winner.

“It’s going to be tremendously hard,” said King, who has been in the local automotive field for about 20 years.

Nominations are open to the entire community. They must be received by Wednesday at coolaid.org/cargiveaway.

The winner will be announced in the first week of October.

Mason family gives $160,000 to Power To Be’s Prospect Lake project

The Mason family of Vancouver Island has donated $160,000 to Power To Be to support inclusive outdoor recreation through its Prospect Lake project.

Power To Be is a non-profit group that has been helping people with cognitive, physical, financial and social barriers get access to activities like hiking and kayaking since 1998.

“We realize how important outdoor activities are to one’s health and well-being,” said Janice Mason. “It’s really important to us to help ensure that all families can experience opportunities in nature.”

The money for the donation comes from the David Mason Fund, named for the youngest member of the family. David was born in 1965 and had spina bifida and hydrocephalus, but was always part of his family’s outdoor activities, despite being in a wheelchair. He went on every family outing, including camping trips, beach visits and forays in Beacon Hill Park.

The fund was created in his memory at the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island when he died at 17, and for many years has functioned as a bursary to help students with disabilities pursue post-secondary education. It was initially generated through money raised by the G.R. Pearkes Clinic women’s auxiliary.

The family is now using the fund to help children gain access to both health care and outdoor activity.

Power To Be chief executive Tim Cormode said the organization is “overwhelmed with gratitude” to the Mason family for its generous contribution.

“We look forward to our new home at Prospect Lake and welcoming even more families to experience the benefits of the outdoors in a safe, fun and inclusive way,” he said. “Power To Be removes barriers and creates access to nature, and we are so excited to have the Mason family be a part of this mission.”

Victoria Grandmothers for Africa shatter record for fundraising

The Victoria Grandmothers for Africa have broken their fundraising record once again, despite having to carry out their 14th annual cycle tour individually.

This year, 67 grandmothers with an average age of 73 — most from Victoria but also from around the Island — spent four weeks on individual cycling efforts and put in a total of 27,931 kilometres, finishing on Sept. 13. The money generated from individual fundraising for the Stephen Lewis Foundation is $136,000 and counting.

It was the group’s second successive fundraising record, following last year’s total of $118,000.

Tour spokeswoman Laurie Wilson said the money raised helps the foundation support African grandmothers faced with raising their grandchildren after their own children succumb to AIDS. The foundation effort, known as the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, was launched in 2006.

People are always happy to support Stephen Lewis and his foundation, she said.

“So many people have respect for him and for how they do their work.”

Past years have seen a collection of cyclists ride the 275 kilometres from Campbell River to Victoria. Making a change wasn’t easy, but it has paid off, Wilson said.

“We struggled because we love that ride down the Island from Campbell River.”

But it just wasn’t going to make sense to do it in the time of COVID-19, she said.

This year’s ride went so well that there will be discussion about what’s best to do in the future, Wilson said. For one thing, the new format saw the number of participants involved more than double from the usual 30 or so.

“It was very inclusive,” Wilson said. Participants included older women who put in their distance on stationary bikes and people who hadn’t ridden a bike in decades.

“That’s quite different than the ride down the Island, which demands a pretty high level of fitness,” she said. “It’s been quite an interesting pivot.”

For more details, go to victoriagrandmothersforafrica.ca.

Festival of Authors starts Wednesday

The Victoria Festival of Authors, billed as the biggest celebration of reading and writing on the Island, is back for a fifth year with a virtual format from Wednesday until next Sunday.

This year’s lineup of writers of poetry and prose will be presented online and free of charge.

All told, there will be 28 writers from across the country, with poetry and prose sessions coming in podcast form. Victoria artist in residence Kathryn Calder and Leanne Dunic will provide a musical backdrop.

There will also be the annual poetry walk, which will be webcast and will include scenic views of Thetis Lake to accompany the poets. It will be a podcast, as well.

Eight Zoom panels will include such topics as climate change.

The final evening will feature the awarding of the City of Victoria’s Butler Book Prize and Children’s Book Prize, in conjunction with the Victoria Book Prize Society.

More information is available at victoriafestivalofauthors.ca.

Thanksgiving Food Drive ready to deliver to those in need

The annual B.C. Thanksgiving Food Fund Drive is underway to help those struggling to make ends meet.

The drive has been held for the past 11 years, and has brought in hundreds of thousands of pounds of non-perishable items for food banks around the province.

This year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater Victoria portion of the drive has become a fundraising effort. Starting Sept. 21, volunteers have been delivering door hangers to homes throughout the region to remind people how important it is to donate to food banks.

Due to their ability to buy in bulk from local suppliers, food banks can turn every $1 donated into $3 worth of food.

Byron Barnard, who co-chairs the local drive with wife Carey, said 30,000 door hangers will be distributed by volunteers.

“Normally we have a food drive where people put out bags of food.”

He said it’s hoped their efforts translate into an uptick in funds received by local food banks. “It’ll be interesting to see.”

Capital City Toy Run goes today in Esquimalt

The 6th annual Capital City Toy Run is set for today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the parking lot of the Carlton Club, 900 Carlton Terr. in Esquimalt.

Each year, 200 to 400 motorcycle riders gather and collect toys for children to enjoy at Christmas.

All of the toys are donated to local charities.

Coffee and doughnuts will be provided.

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