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Our Community: Habitat for Humanity's push to raise $100,000; crafts from Rwanda

Habitat for Humanity needs 100 more donors to raise another $100,000 in support of their current builds in Victoria.
Village children, each with a cup of breakfast porridge, in Gashora, Rwanda, in May 2020. PHOTO BY KIMULI ROGERS

Habitat for Humanity needs 100 more donors to raise another $100,000 in support of their current builds in Victoria.

There is now less than one month remaining to reach Habitat’s target of $200,000 to help local families in need of a safe and decent place to call home.

“We are thrilled to have raised almost $100,000 to date,” said Yolanda Meijer, CEO Habitat Victoria. “But we still need another 100 donors in the Greater Victoria community to each donate $1,000 to help us finish these builds and get families into their homes for early 2021.”

The charity is well on the way to helping 11 local families realize their dream of affordable homeownership. Seven families with 17 children between them have been selected for the 11 homes under construction and another two are veryclose to approval.

“We are also excited to announce that, following a recent buyback, we now have space for a 12th family to enter our homeownership program this year,” said Meijer.

For more information or to donate, go to

Hiking challenge aids people with dementia

Victoria residents can now participate in the Climb for Alzheimer’s, a fundraising challenge to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. by hiking in their community on the last Sunday in September.

Victoria residents can join in hiking a total of 70,000 kilometres — one kilometre for each individual living with dementia in B.C.

Money raised will go toward research and to ensure people affected by dementia can access programs, services and education.

People are asked to consult the B.C. Parks website or another online resource before heading on their outdoor adventure as some trails might be closed.

The Climb for Alzheimer’s is sponsored by Neptune Terminals and Ecclesiastical Insurance. For more information, or to register, go to

Pop-up market features arts, crafts from Rwanda

Help the residents of a small village in Rwanda by purchasing some of their artisanal products at a pop-up arts and crafts market at the Fort Common today.

The market will feature handmade baskets, woven jewellery, artwork and small furniture made by residents of a small village in Gashora, Rwanda.

The market will also feature a number of artists and artisans, who will donate a portion of their sales to the cause.

Money collected will help feed children of the east African village affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Gabrielle Matheson, the local organizer, is also on the board of Journey House Africa, a locally started non-governmental organization.

Admission to the event is free. It runs 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at Fort Common, a semi-public courtyard at Fort and Blanshard Streets (Enter through the gates next to Be Love Victoria). For more information on Journey House Africa, go to

People can donate at and search for Journey House Actions Rwanda, or email Matheson at for donation information or how to purchase a gift from the gift catalogue.

Region has its 350th little free library

The capital region’s 350th little free library is in the shape of a little house, with doors, windows — and even its own flower basket.

The Linden Free Library, which can be found along the 200-block of Linden Avenue, was built by Ken Beswick.

“When I read the story of my May Street neighbour Jim installing the 300th little free library, I thought I would build my own,” said Beswick. “I have lots of wood scraps in my idle workshop and also time. The design came from a little Ukrainian house model we have. I mounted it a few days ago and there have already been lots of comings and goings.”

Little free libraries are little book boxes that operate on the principle of leave a book – take a book.

“Victorians love little free libraries,” said Teale Phelps Bondaroff, Pocket Places Project lead and Greater Victoria Placemaking Network volunteer board member. “The city has the highest density of little free libraries in Canada, and the pace at which Victorians have been installing little free libraries is rapid — the 300th little free library was only set up in June of this year.”

Over the past four years the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network has been mapping little free libraries across the CRD as part of its Pocket Places Project. This project tops up collections with fresh books. To date, the project has set up dozens of libraries and delivered more than 17,500 books to the libraries by bike trailer.

A map of the libraries can be found at little-free-libraries.

Our Place Thanksgiving by Dodd’s is on Oct. 9

Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress is going ahead with their annual Our Place Thanksgiving dinner, Oct. 9, albeit under strict provincial health and safety guidelines.

This is the 22nd year of the event, sponsored by Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress. The community event serves a traditional turkey meal to close to 1,000 of Greater Victoria’s most vulnerable citizens.

Under provincial health and safety guidelines, staff and volunteers are not allowed to serve this year’s meal. Attendees will instead be served cafeteria-style by volunteers behind a plastic screen.

The event takes place Friday, Oct. 9 at Our Place, 919 Pandora Ave. The Christmas dinner is set to take place Dec. 18. For more information, go to

Myeloma March raised close to $12,000

The Vancouver Island Multiple Myeloma March, which took place last Monday, raised nearly $12,000. It will go toward research to help ensure that new drug therapies continue to be developed until a cure is found.

The event was held to create awareness for myeloma, a little-known and incurable cancer of the plasma cells. This deadly blood cancer affects nine more Canadians every day.

Vancouver Island was one of a record 33 communities across Canada participating in the event, hosted by Myeloma Canada. For more information, go to

Hospitals Foundation reaches $1M of campaign

The Victoria Hospitals Foundation has raised $1 million of its $7 million goal for their It’s Critical campaign to expand critical care capacity in Greater Victoria.

Launched in April, the campaign seeks to purchase life-saving critical care equipment to facilitate the opening of an interim high-acuity unit at Royal Jubilee Hospital. A high-acuity unit offers an intermediate level of care — between intensive care and acute care.

The unit, slated to open in October, will give care teams increased capacity and flexibility to provide specialized care and manage surges in hospitalizations.

“I’m inspired by the extraordinary support from our giving community — thank you for making this milestone possible. To see equipment already in the hands of care teams thanks to our donors is incredible,” said Avery Brohman, executive director of Victoria Hospitals Foundation. “Together, the community, Island Health, and the Foundation are truly transforming healthcare for Vancouver Island residents. Especially in these uncertain times, we are grateful for the continued commitment shown by our donors to expand critical care capacity, and preserve the care we all rely on.”

The first $1 million raised will fund critical care equipment. The $6 million yet to be raised will fund construction of a permanent high-acuity unit. When completed, the permanent unit will increase critical care capacity at Royal Jubilee by 73 per cent.

For more information, or donate, call 250-519-1750 or go to

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