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Our Community: Show Your Love for the Forest aims to buy land for new park in Saanich

Creatively United for the Planet is promoting Show Your Love for the Forest, a curated pair of getaway packages to be awarded to donors to Habitat Acquisition Trust’s Mountain Road Forest fundraising campaign. The group is looking to purchase a 19.
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Frances Litman, founder of Creatively United for the Planet, picks a winning entry in a draw to support Habitat Acquisition Trust's Mountain Road Forest fundraising campaign. HABITAT ACQUISITION TRUST

Creatively United for the Planet is promoting Show Your Love for the Forest, a curated pair of getaway packages to be awarded to donors to Habitat Acquisition Trust’s Mountain Road Forest fundraising campaign.

The group is looking to purchase a 19.8-hectare piece of land to create a new Capital Regional District park in Saanich.

The land trust is at 75 per cent of their fundraising goal — and hopes to raise the remaining $1.4 million by Earth Day, April 22.

More than 800 donors have already stepped forward, including celebrities Neil Young and Daryl Hannah.

The couple urged others to donate. “Saving these ecosystems, sequestrating carbon, providing habitats, filtering water, creating oxygen, rebuilding soil and of course bringing peace, joy and relief to those who get to spend time amidst these natural gems is a crucial first step in effectively responding to the climate crisis.”

The densely forested property is near Prospect Lake.

Katie Blake, HAT’s executive director, said raising the last 25 per cent is an “urgent challenge,” especially during the challenges of the pandemic.

“But we can see the momentum building as more and more people experience this property and get to marvel at the size of some of the trees in this urban forest,” she said.

As an incentive, all donors making a gift of more than $1,000 in March will be included in a random draw for a three-day stay in Tofino and an original work of art by Roy Henry Vickers.

• Donations can be made online at mountainroadforest.ca or by cheque mailed to Habitat Acquisition Trust, P.O. Box 8552, Victoria, V8W 3S2.

51 ways to improve Victoria, backed by neighbourhood grants

Expect to see more trees, lighting, traffic calming and community gardens as the City of Victoria approves 51 community projects focused on creating inviting, vibrant outdoor places.

The city’s My Great Neighbourhood Grants were developed to support strong, connected neighbourhoods. They fund projects and activities that empower residents to shape their local area.

People can apply for up to $5,000 for placemaking projects and up to $1,000 for activities.

A new temporary category of Community Recovery and Resiliency was introduced in 2020, encouraging programs for food security and education and supporting the city’s more vulnerable residents through the pandemic.

“The My Great Neighbourhood Grant program is incredibly important during these challenging times,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “These grants are all about empowering residents to stay connected and strengthen their community in safe, new ways that bring neighbours together in addition to the stimulus for the local economy.”

Grants are available to residents and community groups in the City of Victoria. Any not-for-profit organization, school or ad hoc groups of residents can apply, although a sponsor must be found for those without not-for-profit status.

City staff are available to help residents through the process. Applications for the 2021 program will open this spring.

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

Kits for Compassion support Victoria Hospice

Kits for Compassion is a fundraiser that brings fashion and fun directly to supporters of Victoria Hospice.

Presented by Amica Senior Lifestyles, the limited-edition kits feature stylish selections, heart-centered self-care items and handmade goods, all in support of compassionate end-of-life care — along with local merchants and artisans.

“We know local businesses are working hard to stay afloat this year and feel it’s important to support the community that supports us,” said Wendy Innes, interim director of development for Victoria Hospice. “Our Kits for Compassion suppliers’ commitment to beauty, quality and community radiates through each and every offering, and we are so excited to showcase them.”

Open one of the $250 kits and you will find eight curated items from local retailers and artisans. The items collectively have a retail value of more than $300.

Purchasers are also invited to attend a virtual event on May 2 featuring spring fashion tips, door prizes and more.

Last year the in-person pre-pandemic Fashion for Compassion event raised more than $60,000.

The Victoria Hospice provided compassionate end-of-life care to nearly 500 people at the inpatient unit on the Royal Jubilee Hospital campus last year and made more than 1,200 home visits. Fundraising makes up half of the its budget.

For more information, or to order, go to victoriahospice.org.

Toyota Cars for Good a drive for physical accessibility

Toyota Canada has just launched Toyota Cars For Good, a national program that will give away three vehicles in 2021, including any modifications required for physical accessibility.

The program is aimed at Canadian registered charitable organizations that foster inclusion through physical accessibility.

“Toyota is committed to creating a more inclusive society where everyone can move freely,” said Cyril Dimitris, vice president, sales and marketing for Toyota Canada. “This year, we’re excited to launch the Toyota Cars For Good giveaway program, recognizing local organizations in communities across Canada that are taking steps to break down barriers to movement for all Canadians.”

Three organizations will be awarded a brand-new 2021 Toyota vehicle, valued at up to $70,000. Three additional organizations will each be awarded $5,000 to continue their important work fostering inclusion through physical accessibility in their communities.

Applicants need to include a written submission about their organization’s mission and values; their local impact on reducing barriers to movement and fostering inclusion through physical accessibility; and how a vehicle would benefit or enhance the organization’s community efforts.

The deadline for the program is April 9. Entries will be evaluated by a panel of judges from across the Canadian accessibility community.

For more information, go to toyota.ca/carsforgood.

London Drugs campaign dials into youth mental health

London Drugs is answering the call from Kids Help Phone with Be Kind, a fundraising campaign to help meet the surging demand for youth mental health support.

Calls and texts to the Kids Help Phone line in British Columbia more than doubled last year.

“We are all living in more isolated circumstances,” said Clint Mahlman, London Drugs’ president and chief operating officer. “Sending uplifting, reassuring and positive handwritten cards to friends, families, and neighbours is one way to improve our overall wellbeing and sense of connection.”

During the campaign, which runs until April 1, 25 cents from sales of Carlton and Papyrus greeting cards at the retailer will go directly to the charity.

Kids Help Phone has been a mental health support service available to youth in Canada for more than 31 years. Young people can text ‘TALK’ to 686868 to receive free and confidential support.

For more information, go to kidshelpphone.ca.

parrais@timescolonist.com