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Our Community: Poinsettia campaign helps youngest patients

Believe it or not, Christmas is just around the corner. You will soon be able to order holiday plants from the Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary’s annual Poinsettias for Patients campaign.
Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary runs an annual Poinsettias for Patients fundraising campaign. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Believe it or not, Christmas is just around the corner. You will soon be able to order holiday plants from the Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary’s annual Poinsettias for Patients campaign. The holiday tradition features top-quality plants grown locally by Hilltop Greenhouses.

The order deadline is Nov. 15 with pickup or delivery at the end of November. Proceeds from the campaign help the hospital auxiliary help the youngest patients.

For more information, call 250-598-3385 or go to

Art video therapy for all ages

The Cowichan Valley Arts Council has recorded two art video therapy sessions that are suitable for all ages.

Simple art exercises can be the best way to ease anxiety for some people.

The first 30-minute session, Art for Ease, includes three simple brain-healthy and fun exercises using basic supplies you have at home.

The session is led by a local certified art therapist and registered clinical counsellor with training as an artist and educator.

A second video, Unblocking your Creativity, is aimed toward artists.

If you are looking for inspiration, visit the Pandemic Art Show at the Portals Gallery in Duncan.

The Living in Lockdown show features more than 35 pieces by artists asked to explore the themes of isolation and humanity.

The works are reflections on the personal impact of the pandemic — both whimsical and solemn. The ­eclectic show features everything from painting and mixed media to toilet paper roll papier-mâché and an interactive installation reminding us to breathe deeply.

The show is free to the public. It runs now until Oct. 21 at the Portals Gallery in the Cowichan Community Centre, 2687 James St., Duncan.

To access the art therapy sessions, go to

Credit union launches relief fund for non-profits

Coastal Community Credit Union has launched a Relief and Resiliency Fund for Vancouver Island non-profit community organizations.

Non-profit community organizations have had to navigate a very difficult landscape in the last six months. To help them continue their community work, Coastal Community has redesigned its Building Healthier Community Fund. Renamed the Relief and Resiliency Fund, the retooled program will ease the COVID-19 impact on non-profits as they adjust to the new normal.

“We know how far reaching the benefits are of working together to strengthen communities,” said Allyson Prescesky senior manager, community and communications for the credit union. “This crisis has had a huge impact on so many organizations and people. It’s our responsibility and our vision to find ways to help.”

The initiative offers one-time funds to community organizations. There are two funding categories: relief and resilience.

Relief covers immediate short-term needs like replacing funds from cancelled fundraising events. Resilience is targeted for the adjustments organizations need to make to deliver community services in the long term.

For more information, and to apply, go to

Funds raised by Tim Hortons support families at Jeneece Place

Tim Hortons restaurants across Greater Victoria raised more than $33,000 for Vancouver Island families, children and youth during last month’s Tim Hortons Smile Cookie week.

Proceeds from the event will allow the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island to support families who stay at Jeneece Place. Funds will also help transform the lives of children and youth living with physical and mental health challenges.

“We are grateful for the support in Greater Victoria. The funds raised reflect an amazing achievement, even under the challenge of physical distancing and public health protocols,” said Veronica Carroll, CEO Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island. “These funds will assist local Island kids and families living with physical and mental health challenges. Over the week, we saw south Islanders enjoying their Tim Hortons Smile Cookies.”

Over the last seven years more than $215,000 has been raised in Victoria through the sale of Smile Cookies. Last year, Tim Hortons restaurant owners and guests across the country raised a record $9.8 million to support local charities. For more information, go to

Shelbourne Community Kitchen opens new food storage, refrigeration facility

Debby Baker, madam vice president of the Ladysmith Fraternal Order of Eagles Auxiliary #2101, has just completed a virtual walk from Ladysmith to the Dalles, Oregon, physically finishing at the Eagles Hall in Ladysmith on Thursday.

Since “leaving” Baker has posted 67 videos of walks she has taken on trails in and around central Vancouver Island.

She found that many of the walks and trails were perfect for keeping a social distance from people.

Baker embarked on her 671-kilometre virtual walk on July 10 to raise funds and awareness for Parkinson’s disease, Muscular Dystrophy, Alzheimer’s and the Golden Eagle (senior’s shortfall) fund.

The walk has raised more than $4,000. Baker ended her journey (the equivalent of 16 marathons) at 4 p.m. Thursday in front of the Eagles Hall in Ladysmith. They are on Facebook.

Ladysmith auxiliary executive in virtual walk to Oregon

The Shelbourne Community Kitchen has just opened a new food storage and refrigeration facility to meet the increased demand for its services during the pandemic.

The 185 square metre facility, on the lower floor of the Lutheran Church of the Cross, gives the kitchen more capacity to process and store dry goods as well as fresh and frozen food.

“Since the introduction of COVID restrictions we have added 230 people to our client list — an increase of 200 per cent. But by switching from in-house food pick up to a model of delivery and walk-up window service, we managed to provide food to everyone,” said Clarice Dillman, board chair for the kitchen. “We would not have been able to accomplish this without increased capacity at the new facility.”

Thanks to the kitchen’s partnerships with volunteer gardeners and other community groups, clients can now access the healthy food they need.

The new facility is possible thanks to donations and in-kind services offered by local contractors and businesses.

Additional renovations are still required, due to the increasing demand for its services. Donations can be made at