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Our Community: Rug-cleaning firm raises funds for bird feeders for seniors

The owner of a rug-cleaning business is hoping to put smiles on the faces of isolated seniors with Luv-A-Senior, a campaign to buy bird feeders for those in care homes.
Dusty Roberts, pictured at Veterans Memorial Lodge, is running Luv-A-Senior, a campaign to buy bird feeders for seniors’ homes. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

The owner of a rug-cleaning business is hoping to put smiles on the faces of isolated seniors with Luv-A-Senior, a campaign to buy bird feeders for those in care homes.

Dusty Roberts, the owner of Luv-A-Rug Services, discovered how seniors loved watching birds when his father became a resident in a care home in 2019.

“My dear dad had really bad hearing, but he really loved watching the birds — and so did a lot of other residents,” he said.

His campaign is in honour of his father, who passed away last January.

So far, 16 care homes have expressed interest in the idea, with one facility even requesting 20 bird feeders.

The campaign, which runs until the end of January, hopes to raise $10,000 to buy the feeders, a supply of food and instructions on the proper care and cleaning of the feeders.

Any money left over will go towards a seniors music-therapy program at the Royal Jubilee Hospital.

As an incentive, the rug-cleaning business is offering a special deal for donors — the free cleaning of the smaller of two area rugs for anybody who donates to the campaign.

“There is no minimum amount. All I ask is for people to give with their heart.”

The campaign runs until Jan. 30. For more information, go to

Vroom: Motorcycle dealer raises $24,000 for food banks

Using the hashtag #fuelthehunger, a motorcycle dealer has raised almost $24,400 for food banks in communities across Canada through its United We Raise campaign.

This was the first time the Barnes family, which owns three Harley Davidson dealerships in British Columbia, including one in Victoria, had organized such a fundraiser.

After finding out about it, 13 other Harley Davidson franchises across the country joined the campaign, resulting in the donation of the equivalent of 400,000 meals to community food banks.

“We wanted to help when we found out food banks were facing a significant increase in demand due to COVID-19,” said Kiran Rancourt, head of marketing for the Barnes family chain of dealerships. “It was pretty exciting to see the dealer and community response.”

He said that the hope for this year’s campaign is for support by Harley Davidson Canada, the franchisor for the brand.

The Barnes family has been in the automotive business for 36 years, starting with a General Motors dealership in Camrose, Alberta.

The family got into the motorcycle business in 2003, with its first Harley Davidson franchise in Langley. They purchased the local franchise in 2015 from Steve Drane, who had owned it for 41 years, and bought a franchise in Kamloops the next year.

A coverup we like: Cowichan group aims to make 83,000 face masks

A Cowichan Valley grassroots group is well on its way to making 83,000 face masks — one for every resident of the valley.

COVID Action Cowichan was formed last March to be an information portal and means for organizing a community response to the pandemic. It initially made scrub caps for health-care workers who were experiencing a shortage.

With a goal of keeping the infection rate low, the organization now offers free masks to the community, with a choice of adult, teen, child and tot sizes.

Volunteers sew, cut and deliver the hand-made masks. They accept donations of cash, fabric, sewing supplies or machines to make the masks.

To request a mask, volunteer or donate, go to COVID Action Cowichan’s Facebook page or

Program connects adults with developmental disabilities

Adults with developmental disabilities can now connect with each other or search for programs, activities and resources with the launch of a new online platform.

The website, which launched just before Christmas, was created by the Garth Homer Society and made possible thanks to a $45,000 grant from United Way Greater Victoria.

According to the society, the website is one of the first to bring together support information, learning models on finding employment and live events such as art lessons specially created for developmentally disabled adults.

“As we started gathering material for the website, we quickly discovered a lack of resources that were both accessible and age-appropriate,” said Geoffrey Ewert, the society’s director of learning and employment services. “Much of the available information was targeted at children, so the team took on the task of developing a lot of the website’s content from the ground up. We wanted to provide resources that were accessible and enjoyable for users, while at the same time maintaining their dignity as adults.”

The website was built with a global audience in mind. The goal is for it to become an online hub that would provide specialized post-secondary learning programs for service providers across Canada and beyond.

“United Way has been a funding partner of the Garth Homer Society in our community for many years. We are proud to provide support as it pivots in response to COVID-19,” said Mark Breslauer, CEO, United Way Greater Victoria. “We are pleased to see the kind of impact that is having on local families and, as an added bonus, the potential to assist people from all over the world.”

Garth Homer Society is a social services organization that supports adults with developmental disabilities to live fulfilling lives.

For more information, go to

Float the Boat campaign boosts Maritime Museum of B.C.

The Maritime Museum of B.C. has just launched its Float the Boat fundraising campaign, with a goal of raising $25,000 by March 31.

The museum relies on grants and private donations to keep exhibit rates accessible to the public.

“2020 was a difficult year, without a doubt,” said Brittany Vis, associate director of the museum. “While we’re all very excited to turn a new leaf and welcome 2021, we know this year will bring its own challenges. Emergency government funding will end this year and we are still a way off from resuming normal operations and reopening our traditional revenue streams. Individual support is needed now more than ever to keep the museum running.”

People can donate to the museum in general or choose to fund a range of programming it offers.

The museum’s website shows the different categories and some of the ongoing costs associated with each one.

The Maritime Museum of B.C. is a registered charity and non-profit that promotes and preserves B.C.’s maritime heritage and culture.

For more information, go to