Our Community: Fundraiser aims to restock food bank

Canstruction, a fundraising and awareness event with teams constructing structures made entirely out of non-perishable food items, started last Friday and runs until May 14 at Hillside Shopping Centre.

This is the fifth year of the event, hosted by the Dahlia Society as a fundraiser for the Mustard Seed Street Church.

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This year’s theme, Around The World, will inspire teams to build creative portrayals of wonders that will take visitors on a journey around the world.

“This is our fifth year, and we’re hoping for a very successful event and even larger turn out from our local community than years past. Our team truly feels now that Victoria has really rallied around our event,” said Christopher Mavrikos, founder and executive director of the Dahlia Society. “Supporting our community through the Mustard Seed is a cause that this city supports and we’re hoping to use that to carry on our momentum from the past four years to raise even bigger numbers of cans and funds this year.”

Visitors can view and vote for their favourite in the People’s Choice Award by making a donation of three non-perishable food items or a $5 cash donation.

There will also be a Family Can Day on May 12, with a scavenger hunt, local mascots and face painting.

To date, Canstruction Victoria events have collected more than 134,000 cans of food, which, in addition to monetary donations, equals about $387,140 worth of product and funds to the Mustard Seed.

The event is free to view. People can see it during regular shopping hours every day until May 14 at the Hillside Shopping Centre, 1644 Hillside Ave. The Family Can Day, which includes a community build from noon to 1 p.m., takes place on May 12.

For more information, go to canstructionvictoria.ca.

Margaret Jenkins gets new technology

Young students of the École Margaret Jenkins School recently took part in a special school assembly, where they were formally awarded $20,000 in new technology as one of 10 winners selected by Earth Day Canada and Staples Canada of a national contest.

The children were recognized for their outstanding environmental initiatives as part of the 2018 Superpower Your School Contest. This is the eighth year of the national contest, which attracted 740 entries.

For more information, go to earthday.ca/campaigns-contests.

Local group recognized for mental-health work

Victoria-based British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society has been named as one of the winners of the Champions of Mental Health Awards for 2018.

Hosted by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, the awards recognize individuals and organizations for their outstanding contributions to mental health in Canada.

“We had so many incredible nominations this year; inspirational stories from all across the country,” said Fred Phelps, campaign chairman. “It was a challenging process, and we are thrilled to announce these champions, all of whom are change-makers in their community, working to create a safe space for discussions surrounding mental health and for those living with mental illness.”

The award will be presented at a gala dinner on Tuesday in Ottawa.

The British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society is a cross-disability organization that works with individuals and families living with mental illness. This work includes the ongoing effects of residential schools, racial discrimination, addictions, PTSD and other forms of mental illness.

The organization strives to reduce barriers and bring awareness of the value and contributions that persons living with disabilities, including those living with mental illness, bring to their communities.

For more information, go to camimh.ca or bcands.bc.ca.

Alexa’s Team marks 10 years

ICBC and MADD Canada recently marked 10 years of work by police to reduce the number of impaired drivers on B.C. roads.

It has been 10 years since four-year-old Alexa Middelaer was killed by an impaired driver in Delta.

Saddened by her loss and looking for some good to come from it, law-enforcement officers formed Alexa’s Team, an anti-impaired-driving program.

The program recognizes police officers committed to reducing the number of drivers on the road affected by alcohol or drugs.

In 10 years, Alexa’s Team has grown from 26 members to 2,400 new and returning RCMP and municipal police officers from across the province.

Anti-impaired-driving initiatives are supported by Alexa’s Bus, the province’s mobile road-safety unit. It has been deployed 293 times in communities around the province since its launch in 2014 as an education and enforcement tool.

The RID 911 program, supported by communities, police services, MADD Canada and other road-safety organizations, is another anti-impaired-driving initiative that encourages the public to call 911 to report suspected impaired drivers.

Overall, more than 86,500 drivers affected by alcohol or drugs have been removed from the streets, roads and highways by Alexa’s Team members since 2008.

Last month, MADD Canada, ICBC, the RCMP and supporters of Alexa’s Team gathered at an event at Glenlyon Norfolk Junior School to recognize Vancouver Island police officers named to the 2017 Alexa’s Team.

For more information, go to bc.rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

Quilters’ handiwork on display

Today is the last day to admire the work of members of the Victoria Quilters’ Guild as they hold their annual City of Gardens Quilt Show and Sale at the Pearkes Recreation Centre.

Members range from traditional hand-quilters to fabric artists. The mandate of the guild is to promote and encourage interest in the art of quilting — and to educate the public in the art of quilting.

If you like what you see on Sunday, you might want to show up at Tuesday’s Bring a Friend Night at the monthly meeting of the group, held at the Salvation Army Citadel.

New quilters, those interested in quilting and experienced quilters are welcome to come and meet fellow quilters and learn about the guild.

Winning entries from the recent quilt show will be on display.

Admission to the quilt show is $8. It runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre, 3100 Tillicum Rd. Entrance to Tuesday’s Bring a Friend Night is free. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Salvation Army Citadel, 4030 Douglas St. A brief tour and information about the guild will be offered at the break.

For more information, go to victoriaquiltersguild.org.

Take a spin for mental health

Hop on a spin cycle at your nearest Steve Nash Fitness World and Sports Club on Wednesday for Ride Don’t Hide, an initiative in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association and Mental Health Week.

At the event, people are encouraged to hop on one of the spin cycles if they have ever experienced stress, anxiety or depression.

All of the fitness club’s locations in B.C. are participating in the initiative, which will feature spin stations outside their doors. The club is inviting all spin studios across the province to join this initiative to help raise awareness and support during Mental Health Week.

For every kilometre ridden on their cycles, Steve Nash Fitness World will donate $10 to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

For every use of the hashtag #SNFCRideDontHide, the club will donate $1 — up to a total $10,000 donation.

“We are thrilled to get involved in supporting such a great initiative,” said Chris Smith, club president and COO. “We see the benefits of physical fitness and mental health every day and are excited to do our part to help break stigma and raise awareness around this great cause.”

Show your support by jumping on a bike or using the hashtag #SNFCRideDontHide.

The spin stations will be available from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday outside every club in the province, including the Uptown location, 3561 Blanshard St.

For more information, go to snclubs.com.

Carnations mean love for mom

Royal Oak Burial Park will be giving visitors free carnations on Mother’s Day.

The not-for-profit, community-owned burial park plans to hand out 500 pink and white carnations. The flowers have been associated with Mother’s Day since the day’s inception in the early 20th century.

“White carnations are for mothers who have passed away,” said Crystabelle Fobler, executive director of the burial park. “We are happy provide free carnations for families to place on their mother’s grave at the park, or take the flower to place wherever they choose, perhaps a location that meant something to mom.”

Pink carnations signify gratitude and love for all mothers, she adds.

The blooms will be available 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., May 13, at the entrance to Royal Oak Burial Park, 4673 Falise Dr. For more information, go to robp.ca.

Explore history at St. Luke

Learn about the lives — and the final resting places — of some of Cedar Hill, Lake Hill and Gordon Head’s pioneer families at a Churchyard Tour, on May 12 at St. Luke Cedar Hill.

Join Pam Gaudio, along with descendants and friends of people buried in the historic churchyard, to hear stories of some of the interesting people buried at the historic Saanich cemetery.

The cost to join the tour is $5. Funds raised goes toward ongoing maintenance at the historic cemetery. The tour starts at 2 p.m. at the cemetery entrance closest to the church, 3821 Cedar Hill Cross Rd. For more information, call 250-477-6741 or go to stlukesvictoria.ca/events.

Go on a hike for hospice

Join Bella the dog to honour the memory of a loved one at Hike for Hospice, and raise funds and awareness for hospice palliative care, today at Fisherman’s Wharf Park.

Today marks the beginning of National Hospice Palliative Care Week, with dozens of cities across Canada hosting Hikes for Hospices.

Locally, Victoria Hospice will welcome hundreds of people to enjoy a scenic 3.5-kilometre walk from the Inner Harbour to the ocean and back again.

One of the participants will be hospice volunteer and donor Renée and her wire fox terrier Bella. Since 2013, three of Renée’s close friends have died at the Victoria Hospice unit — one of whom was Bella’s owner.

It meant a lot to her friend to be able to continue to have daily visits from her canine companion in her final days.

Proceeds from the walk go to Victoria Hospice, a registered charity that depends on community support for almost half its operating costs.

So far, the event has raised about half of its $40,000 goal — but registration is accepted right up until the hike starts. Donations will continue to be accepted until May 31.

The festivities kick off at 9 a.m. today with musical beats by Mufaro Marimba. The hike starts at 10 a.m. from Fisherman’s Wharf Park. Four-legged friends have a chance to win the Pawsitive Spirit Award.

For more information, go to victoriahospice.org/events/7th-annual-hike-hospice.

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