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Our Community: Fundraiser helps beach-cleaning paddler replace equipment

An environmental organization has launched an online fundraiser for a Vancouver Island paddleboarder who collects plastic and other debris from remote B.C. shorelines

An environmental organization that advocates for cleaner oceans has launched an online fundraiser for a Vancouver Island paddleboarder who collects plastic and other debris from remote B.C. shorelines.

David Jensen, an outdoor enthusiast and adventurer, started paddleboarding in 2017, and used his newfound passion to explore the coast of Vancouver Island.

During a solo trip in 2021, he discovered the wilderness — and a tonne of debris.

He founded a non-profit society in 2022 and has partnered with Sointula-based Living Oceans Society to pick up the garbage he collects on his expeditions around the coast.

“I love the outdoors and it has taught me a lot,” said Jensen, 46. “Cleaning up is my way of giving back. I know I can’t solve the pollution problem, but I figured at least I can clean up my own backyard. If I can save a fish or bird by my actions, it’s worth it for me.”

His trips include some of the hardest-to-reach places near Cape Scott, where plastics pose a danger to many forms of marine life. This year, he managed to collect about 10 tonnes of plastic debris.

Karen Wristen, executive director of Living Oceans and Canadian Coastal Research Society, calls working with Jensen “a perfect partnership.”

“With his expert paddleboard skills, David can get into almost any little pocket beach, despite the rocks and surf that make them inaccessible for most boats,” she said.

The Canadian Coastal Research Society, the charity arm of Living Oceans, raises funds to charter helicopters to remove the collected debris from the remote locales.

In late August, however, all of Jensen’s equipment — a stand-up paddleboard, a small emergency board and a surfboard — was damaged beyond repair after falling from a helicopter during an operation.

“All of us who have worked with David are deeply troubled by his loss,” said Wristen. “The boards weren’t insured for the lift and he can’t be left to bear this loss on his own. He has given so much time and effort to trying to control the plastic pollution on our coast that I felt we had to do something for him.”

She said anybody who has seen Jensen clean up a shoreline would want him to continue his work.

The fundraiser has a goal of $15,000 and can be found at or by searching David Jensen on the site. For more information on his work, go to

Runners pound pavement for Habitat for Humanity

Individuals and teams of runners are accepting pledges as they run in support of Habitat for Humanity at the upcoming Royal Victoria Marathon, Oct. 8.

Habitat for Humanity is an official charity partner of the event, which includes an eight-kilometre, half and full marathon distances. The registered charity has its own running ambassadors in the Run For Home team.

“I love to run. This is a beautiful course and I love that I get to combine running and my support for affordable housing in our community,” said participant Krista Bekkema.

“Raising awareness and funds on behalf of Habitat Victoria have never been more important and this fits perfectly in with my fitness goals,” said Matthew DiMillo.

Money raised will go toward helping families build strength, stability and independence through affordable home ownership. The organization most recently built 10 affordable homes in North Saanich, its largest build to date.

For more information, or to donate, go to

Eye clinic’s campaign reaches across Pacific

A Victoria optometry clinic has raised $5,000 for the employees of a Maui-based business as a gesture of support for residents of the fire-ravaged island.

Mayfair Optometric Clinic initiated a month-long fundraising initiative that saw the entire proceeds from the sale of Maui Jim sunglasses donated to the employees of Maui Jim’s Lahaina office.

Between Aug. 15 and Sept. 15, the clinic raised just under $5,000, with optometrist Dr. Stephen Taylor rounding out the donation.

He said that the clinic initiated the fundraiser to offer tangible support to those directly affected.

“We hope that this gesture helps the Maui Jim family feel the spirit of aloha from their friends across the ocean,” said Taylor, an optometrist in Victoria for more than 30 years.

Ronald McDonald House builds a team

Ronald McDonald House British Columbia and Yukon has reimagined itself as a football club — RMH UNITED — as it launches a fundraising campaign to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

The house officially opened Oct. 4, 1983, serving as a home-away-from-home for 14 families who had to travel to Vancouver to be close to their seriously ill children undergoing medical treatment at B.C. Children’s and B.C. Women’s Hospital.

In the past 39 years, it has provided free accommodation for 25,000 families from 220 communities in British Columbia and the Yukon.

With a challenging economy and more than 86,000 charities looking for support, Ronald McDonald House is launching a fundraising campaign inspired by the world of sports.

Under the RMH UNITED campaign, the charity is calling upon its supporters, volunteers and communities to unite under one badge and as one team.

“Over the past 40 years, we’ve proven how much we can achieve when we come together with a shared vision — helping tens of thousands of children and families when they need it most,” said Richard Pass, CEO of Ronald McDonald House British Columbia and Yukon.

“Just like a football club, we’re asking our community of donors, volunteers, ambassadors, and supporters to join forces and #SupportOurDream. Because together, we can ensure that all families have the space, resources and support they need while their child receives care for serious illnesses.”

Ronald McDonald House British Columbia and Yukon began operations out of a 13-bedroom home in Vancouver’s Shaughnessy neighbourhood in 1983. It opened a new house on the campus of B.C. Children’s Hospital in 2014, increasing in size to 73 bedrooms.

It also operates a four-bedroom family room within Surrey Memorial Hospital.

Each year across B.C. and Yukon, an estimated 90,000 children visit B.C. Children’s and B.C. Women’s Hospital for medical treatment.

Ronald McDonald House serves as many as 2,000 families each year, about 22 per cent of them travelling from Vancouver Island.

But it operates at capacity, having to turn away more than 500 families.

To address the shortfall, Ronald McDonald House plans to build a second long-term stay house, adjacent to the existing house in Vancouver, over the next few years.

Designed to be a long-stay facility, this house will support families who have to relocate to Vancouver for several months and/or years at a time.

It also plans to open a second family room within Royal Inland Hospital, Kamloops, in the summer of 2024.

Ronald McDonald House is asking the community to rally around their RMH UNITED campaign by donating or ­becoming a sponsor at ­

Sidney church opens programs for young people

St. Andrew Anglican Church in Sidney is starting a Child, Youth and Young Adult program, aimed at youth on the Saanich Peninsula or beyond in middle and high school, with meetings on the first and third Sunday of the month and every Thursday evening.

This program will feature activities to support participants’ faith connections and will provide lunch on Sundays, as well as an evening program for young people on Thursday.

Being Anglican is not a requirement, nor will the program seek to persuade anyone to become an Anglican, the church says.

The Sunday worship program will focus on what it means to be a Christian. The Thursday program features games, sports, crafts and food.

There is no charge for the programs but registration and parental/guardian consent is required for anyone under age 18.

The program takes place at 10 a.m. on the first and third Sunday of the month (during regular service), between noon and 2 p.m. every Sunday and 7 to 8:30 p.m. every Thursday in the newly renovated church hall, 9691 Fourth St., Sidney.

To participate in any of the programs, attend church on Sunday, go to or contact the co-ordinator, Hayden Blair, via Instagram at ­­youthofstandrew.

[email protected]

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