Our Community: Rotary Club gives Our Place $10,000

The Rotary Club of Victoria has donated $10,000 for the purchase of two commercial-grade washer/dryer laundry sets for Our Place.

One set will be installed in the housing unit and the other in the kitchen.

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“No matter who we are or our personal resources, we can all relate to putting on a clean shirt or sleeping between clean sheets,” said Gerald Pash, president of the Rotary Club of Victoria.

Don Evans, CEO of Our Place Society, expressed his thanks.

“The kitchen staff and volunteers will sparkle in their whites as they serve 1,200 meals daily,” he said.

Our Place Society is an inner-city community centre serving Victoria’s most vulnerable citizens.

Rotarians have been donating their time and fundraising to better the community for more than 100 years. In Greater Victoria, there are more than 500 members in clubs based in Victoria, Westshore and the Peninsula.

As a Rotarian, you can develop skills such as public speaking, project management and event planning. You will have the opportunity meet interesting people by taking part in projects in your local community or around the world.

For more information, go to rotaryvictoria.org.

Toilet paper collected for the needy

Volunteers were out in force to give dignity to those in need in British Columbia by collecting toilet paper at 22 locations across the capital region in support of TP the Town Victoria.

This was the fifth year of the light-hearted event, which underscores a serious concern for those in need who are often forced to make a choice between purchasing food or toilet paper with their income.

On Saturday, volunteers were stationed at the entrance of 22 grocery stores from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They encouraged shoppers entering the store to consider buying discounted toilet paper and feminine hygiene products — and then donate it on their way out.

All products collected will be donated to the Mustard Seed Street Church and Sidney Food banks.

The event, which takes place in advance of Homelessness Action Week (Oct. 13 to 19), was organized by Forza Promotions in partnership with the Prodigy Group, Save-on-Foods, Country Grocer, Thrifty Foods and Quality Foods.

Their goal was to collect more than 100,000 rolls of toilet paper.

Local philanthropists named as finalists

The finalists for the 2019 National Philanthropy Day have been announced, with winners to be announced on Nov. 13.

Each year, National Philanthropy Day recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations in the community who have made a difference in the lives of others.

Local philanthropists have been named as the top finalists in seven award categories. They are:

• Patty Pitts for the Generosity of Spirit Award, sponsored by Victoria Foundation;

• Sisters of St. Ann Pacific Northwest for the Generosity of Spirit Legacy Award, sponsored by Victoria Foundation;

• Michael Bloomfield, Charlotte Salomon and Carly Russell-Huntely for the Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer Award, sponsored by Andrew D. Beckerman;

• Cherish organizing committee, consisting of Kari McLay, Kristy Thomson and Lynda Raino, Superheroes of Victoria and Victoria Marathon Society for the Outstanding Philanthropic Community Award, sponsored by Camosun College;

• Peninsula Co-op, Victoria IG Wealth Management group and Concert Properties for the Corporate Responsibility Award, sponsored by the University of Victoria;

• Connor Milloy for the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award (five-10 years), sponsored by Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island;

• Jessica Soule, The Super Seven: Braiden (19), Seth (13), Andrei (10), Aurora (6), Emma (14) and twins Asher and Nolan (9) and Owen Krigolson for the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award (11-18 years), sponsored by Telus.

National Philanthropy Day was started by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 1986. It is celebrated around the world as a day to recognize the work of charities and remember the achievements of philanthropy-giving. In Canada, it is recognized on Nov.15.

In Victoria, the celebration, presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Vancouver Island, will be held 4 to 6:30 p.m., Nov. 13, at the McPherson Playhouse.

For more information, go to community.afpnet.org/afpbcvancouverislandchapter.

Book sale benefits families, animals in crisis

Book lovers can browse among 20,000 books, including 5,000 children’s books, for sale at the 12th annual Garden House Foundation Fund Charity Used Book Sale, Oct. 19 and 20 at the George Bonner Elementary School in Mill Bay.

The sale includes CDs, DVDs, a silent auction of higher-quality books (with bids starting at $20), as well as bins of free books.

Proceeds from the two-day sale will benefit families and animals in crisis. Organizers hope to raise $160,000, which will go into a permanent fund (held under the Victoria Foundation), to continue to help the community through annual grants.

The sale was first organized by Jim and Jackie Barker in 2008. The Barkers have been astounded at the success of the sale, considering that the original goal was to make $25,000 in five years.

“And here we are now,” said Jackie Barker, “anticipating $160,000 to be in the permanent fund by the end of December.”

Thousands of book lovers are expected at the sale.

“Of course, the bargain-basement prices help, too,” said Jim Barker. “Being able to pick up high-quality books in all genres, priced from 50 cents to three dollars, is a great draw for those wishing to score some terrific fall and winter reading.”

Mark your calendar now and remember to head to the bank beforehand, as the sale is cash only.

The sale runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 19, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct. 20, at George Bonner Elementary School, 3060 Cobble Hill Rd., Mill Bay. For more information, call 250-743-4627 or go to gardenhousefoundation.wordpress.com.

Indigenous writers celebrated with readings

You are invited to attend Local Indigenous Perspectives, a celebration of Indigenous writers reading on the homelands of the Songhees and Esquimalt People, Thursday at the Greater Victoria Public Library’s Central Branch.

The event features the literary work of Indigenous writers from Greater Victoria, with readings by authors Danielle Geller, Kim Senklip Harvey, Philip Kevin Paul, and Troy Sebastian. From poetry to fiction, each writer will perform a reading of their work.

The event, hosted by City of Victoria Poet Laureate John Barton, is a partnership between the City of Victoria and the Greater Victoria Public Library, with support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the League of Canadian Poets.

It is free to join. The readings take place 7 to 8:30 p.m., Oct. 10, at the Greater Victoria Public Library’s Central Branch, 735 Broughton St.

For more information, go to victoria.ca/poetlaureate.

Victoria Hospice opens centre to increase services

Victoria Hospice has just celebrated its largest expansion of services in 30 years, with the opening of a Community Support Centre on Chatterton Way.

The new centre will be the headquarters for Victoria Hospice’s grief and bereavement services, volunteer-led patient navigation services and community education.

“For many years, we have chronically run long wait lists to access bereavement counselling,” said Marney Thompson, director of psychosocial services at Victoria Hospice. “With the new centre, we are able to reduce wait lists and increase capacity for more one-on-one counselling sessions and groups.”

In addition to those who are grieving, people with life-limiting illnesses and their families will be able to better prepare for the future with a patient-navigation program at the centre.

“We have always said that we’re an organization that comes alongside you and walks your journey, no matter what that looks like,” said Sarah Beihse, manager, volunteer services and community engagement. “This is an opportunity to come along that much sooner and support people that much longer.”

The centre has three private rooms for counselling, including a space for child and youth counselling. It also features a large, light-filled, multi-use space to be used for grief groups, to host events, deliver specialized programs for health-care professionals, provide families with practical information and support around end-of-life care.

Fundraising for the centre continues to enable the expansion of programs and services in response to the growing needs of the community. The Victoria Hospice Community Support Centre is at 102-445 Chatterton Way. For more information, go to victoriahospice.org.

Pizza sales will go toward eradicating polio

Order some pizza at participating restaurants during the Pizza for Polio program in October and you will be helping the Rotary Club in their international effort to eradicate polio around the world.

October is World Polio Month. Domino’s Pizza will donate $1 to the Rotary Club End Polio Now campaign for every large pizza pie sold this month.

On Oct. 24, World Polio Day, 328 Taphouse Grill, 102-328 Wale Rd., will donate $1 for every pizza sold to the campaign as well.

As a bonus, every dollar raised is matched two for one by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Rotarians have been front and centre in their efforts to raise funds for the eradication of polio. In 1979, there was about 350,000 cases worldwide. As of Sept. 11, 2019, there were only 78 cases, all in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Order your large Domino’s pizza from: 1 -770 Bay St., 4083 Shelbourne St., 2355 Millstream Rd. and 1070 Foul Bay Rd. For more information, go to my.rotary.org/en/take-action/end-polio.

Nature play area opens at Mount Douglas Park

Saanich Parks celebrated National Tree Day last month with the opening of Tinker Town, a new outdoor nature play area in Mount Douglas Park.

Tinker Town, located north of the beach parking area, was named by the students who frequent the area.

The site is set up to provide a natural play and learning area for school groups. It encourages children to enjoy unstructured play and improve their understanding, personal connection and appreciation for nature.

Logs were added for seating to provide a small outdoor classroom.

Saanich will plant 17 large native trees surrounding the area as part of the celebration.

“National Tree Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the importance of nature in our community,” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes. “It’s crucial for us to plant trees now to grow our urban canopy so that it flourishes for future generations. Children will also expand their natural intelligence by learning and exploring in nature at our new Tinker Town.”

Saanich staff plant more than 1,000 caliper-sized trees on public lands every year between November and March. This year, Saanich also provided more than 1,000 free native tree seedlings to residents during the Gorge Canada Day Picnic.

Throughout 2019 and 2020, Saanich Parks and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will plant thousands more tree seedlings along with 600 caliper-sized trees in Cuthbert Holmes Park as part of the habitat restoration program through the Mckenzie Interchange Project.

Tinker Town is a key element of Saanich Parks’ Natural Intelligence initiative, which aims to build on residents’ knowledge of nature, parks and the environment.

More information can be found here.

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