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Our Community: Help send kids to Camp Shawnigan

Walk, run, roll, bike or swim for Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan and make a difference in the lives of persons with diverse abilities in March.

Walk, run, roll, bike or swim for Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan and make a difference in the lives of persons with diverse abilities in March.

Register for any exercise activity in the month of March to raise funds to send children and adults this summer to Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan, a service of the B.C. Lions Society for Children with Disabilities.

“Donations will help offset the $3,600 it costs to support one child at camp each week,” said Emma Liffen, director of development at Easter Seals B.C. / Yukon.

“A week at camp is life-changing. From overnight campouts, sports, games, and arts, to onsite medical support and tailored health meal programs, each camper is recognized for their abilities and gain confidence, communications skills and friendships that last a lifetime.”

Registration is free, and pledges are raised for each kilometre you move.

You can choose to go it solo or create a team, picking your favourite activity or exercise.

All participants who raise a minimum of $300 will be entered to win one of eight prize packages, including a two-night getaway to Kelowna at the Prestige Beach House and a wine tour from Wicked Wine Tours.

“As a charity, we rely on the generosity of the community to support our programs. Any donation, big or small, helps us raise the much-needed funds to deliver this magical experience at camp,” said Liffen.

Easter Seals B.C. and Yukon has offered programs and services since 1952 to individuals with disabilities to help build their self-esteem, self-confidence and sense of independence.

For more information, or to register, go to You can also support, donate or volunteer at

Help fill the bus during Period Promise

Help fill a bus with unopened boxes of tampons, pads and other menstrual products at United Way’s Period Promise campaign, March 7 at Hillside Centre.

The United Way believes that nobody should have to pick between feeding themselves and affording basic hygiene products. It’s asking the public to help them fill a B.C. Transit bus with sanitary products. The target this year is 100,000 individual items.

The Period Promise campaign is to increase public awareness about “period poverty.”

Local governments, such as the City of Victoria, school boards across B.C. and the labour sector have all taken a period promise to provide menstrual products for free in their facilities, just as they supply toilet paper.

Products collected at the event will be distributed to United Way-funded agencies. The product collection drive is supported by B.C. Transit, Hillside Centre, and United Way Greater Victoria and their labour committee.

People can drop off products between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, March 7. Look for the bus parked at the Hillside Centre parking lot, North Dairy Road and Wordsworth Street.

For more information, go to

$10K Telus grant aids Soap for Hope

A local grassroots non-profit that provides hygiene kits to local elementary school children were the beneficiaries of a $10,000 Telus Community Action Grant.

Soap for Hope (a program of Disaster Aid Canada) received the grant in recognition of a program that distributes 500 monthly hygiene kits, including toothbrushes and toothpaste, to children in Victoria.

The non-profit has also set up hygiene tables and cupboards at some schools to make sure children have access to basic hygiene products.

“Soap for Hope is thrilled to be one of the recipients of the Telus Community Action Grant,” said Anne McIntyre, executive director. “When an organization such as Telus recognizes the value and impact of what we are doing in our community, it reinforces that the program is making a meaningful difference in the lives of others.”

McIntyre was presented with a $10,000 cheque by Kathy Baan, Mel Cooper and Tony Joe on behalf of Telus at a volunteer night at the Soap for Hope warehouse.

The Soap for Hope program re-processes soap and soap products collected from hotels. The reprocessed product is given to local community facilities, including schools.

The program diverts the products from the landfill and creates volunteer opportunities, while providing a product that improves the overall health and well-being of the most vulnerable members of our community.

“When you explain to kids here how some people in the world don’t even have soap, and get them to imagine what it would be like for them to work then eat with their dirty hands, you can make an impact,” said McIntyre.

For more information, go to

Real-estate agent throws Cat Party for volunteers

A real estate agent is throwing a purr-fect Cat Party today to thank volunteers and organizers of 16 non-profit charities for all the work that they do for animals every year.

Whitney Garside is the principal at Happy Cat Real Estate (part of Re/Max Camosun). After every succcessful sale, she donates $500 to a cat charity of the clients’ choice — reaching a total of $32,000 since 2018.

The party is an opportunity for all the organizations to come together and share some stories of the animals they have saved and rescued every year. There will be cat-themed food, cat games, cat prizes and cat wine.

Organizations that are expected to attend include the Victoria Cat Rescue Corps, Cat’s Cradle, Broken Promises Rescue, Victoria Humane Society, CRD Animal Services, Cowichan Cat Rescue, VOCAL, ROAM, GVAC, Helping Homeless Cats, FLEC, Dee’s Orphan Kitten Fund, BCSPCA, VPAS, Catnap Society and The Farm.

For more information, go to

Rotary honours Wounded Warrior ambassador

The Rotary Club of Victoria has honoured the Western Canada ambassador of Wounded Warriors Canada with the highest honour Rotary makes to non-Rotarians.

Capt. Jacqueline Zweng, of the Regional Cadet Support Unit (Pacific) was awarded a medallion and certificate appointing her a Paul Harris Fellow.

Despite debilitating cancer treatments, Zweng continued in her work to support traumatically injured Canadian Forces members and civilian first responders.

She participated in gruelling fundraising runs and bicycle tours, the hallmark of Wounded Warrior activities.

She has served as director of the B.C. Wounded Warriors Run and the Highway of Heroes Bike Ride. She led the Battlefield Bike Ride in Europe.

Paul Harris Fellow recipients are usually Rotarians, but on rare occasions non-Rotarians might be recognized for their outstanding contributions, exemplifying the highest ideal in Rotary in placing “service above self.”

The recognition is named after Rotary’s founder Paul Harris.

Wounded Warriors Canada was established in 2006 to support ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members, veterans and first responders and their families. Today, the organization is a direct mental-health service provider facilitated by a clinical team across Canada.

A biography of Zweng is at

Charity aims to put clay back in the classroom

The artsREACH Society has used the proceeds of a Leadership Award from the Legacy Foundation of the Victoria Foundation to launch a pilot project using clay in the classroom.

The not-for-profit is a nationally registered charity that offers workshop programs made possible through grants. Since the program’s inception in 2005, it has hosted more than 2,000 workshops, with almost 32,000 students participating.

They have used the $2,500 awarded to them as part of the Leadership Award to establish a pilot project using clay in the classroom.

Data from the project will help them determine the need — with the ultimate goal of adding the program to their current workshop lineup.

The project came about after schoolteachers indicated that workshops were needed, as using clay in a classroom has become a dying art. For more information, go to

Silver Threads on the move to new home

Silver Threads Service is set to move in May. The new 502-square-metre Victorira centre will be located at 902 Caledonia Ave.

“Silver Threads is a vital part of Victoria, creating the important connections that enhance health and well-being later in life,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

“This new facility ensures they can expand their services and continue supporting the older adults in our community for years to come.”

The new facility will bring additional services for older adults to the North Park neighbourhood, while continuing to offer residents throughout the city a wide range of social programs, recreation and outreach services.

The new location is close to Victoria’s Crystal Pool and fitness centre.

Programs and services at the Crystal Pool and the new Silver Threads centre will be expanded to provide more opportunities for older adults to stay connected and active.

Silver Threads, which first opened its doors in 1956, is a charitable, not-for-profit society that works to enhance social connections and well-being for seniors by providing programs and services that are accessible to all.

The current Victoria Centre at 2340 Richmond Rd. will close April 24 and the new location is scheduled to open May 4.

Look for an open house and further information being shared in the coming months. For more information, go to

Victoria mayor issues TC 10K challenge

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps is asking residents to run, walk or roll with her to win the inaugural Mayors’ Cup trophy in the Times Colonist 10K on April 26.

Helps has already challenged local mayors from across the region to race and engage their communities in one of Victoria’s most popular community events.

“The Mayors’ Challenge is on and it’s going to take our whole community to win,” said Helps.

There are two new prizes up for grabs — the Mayors’ Cup for Participation will go to the community with the most residents per capita participating. The Mayors’ Cup for Speed will go to the community with the lowest average race time.

“I think it would be great to have residents of Victoria hoisting either [or both] of the Mayors’ Cups after the race and so I encourage everyone to sign up and train hard,” said Helps.

“There are bragging rights on the line and I think it would be great to refer to Victoria as the most active, fittest, and quickest community in the CRD.”

Race organizers will use participant postal codes to calculate which municipality has the most residents participating per capita and the quickest race time.

The TC10K is celebrating its 31st year and had more than 9,000 participants last year.

In addition to the 10K feature running and walking event, there is also a 1.5-km children’s run.

For more information, or to register, go to

Remember to recycle those batteries

Call2Recycle Canada, Canada’s national consumer battery collection and recycling organization, has released its 2019 collection numbers.

The number indicate that Canadians helped to recycle a record number of batteries last year, weighing in at almost three million kilograms.

Of that, British Columbians recycled 720,000 kilograms of batteries, an increase of 14 per cent over 2018.

But while 85 per cent of British Columbians are aware that batteries need to be recycled, only 73 per cent are actually recycling their old batteries.

For more information, or to find a drop-off location, go to