'Trick or eat?' ask UVic students

Led by members of the world's biggest post-secondary service group, University of Victoria students will once again turn Halloween into a benefit for the Mustard Seed Food Bank.

Trick-or-treat becomes Trick or Eat, where costumed volunteers go door-to-door collecting food donations for those in need.

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Co-ordinating the Wednesday activity from 6 to 9 p.m. will be the UVic Circle K International Club, one of about 500 such clubs on campuses around the world.

Circle K is affiliated with the Kiwanis organization.

Trick or Eat is an annual campaign co-ordinated across Canada by Meal Exchange, a youth-oriented program targeting hunger.

The public is encouraged to donate food at the door or to make a monetary donation online at trickoreat.ca.

Last year, more than 6,000 Trick or Eat participants throughout the country collected $500,000 worth of food.

At UVic, organizers hope to break the local record from 2011 by bringing in more than $12,000 in food donations.

Participating students will meet at the Bob Wright Building, room B150, before heading out into surrounding neighbourhoods.

A Facebook page has been set up at "Trick or Eat 2012 - UVic Circle K."

SOUPER BOWLS SET FOR TUESDAY

Souper Bowls of Hope is back for a 15th year.

The fundraising lunch event benefiting the Victoria Youth Empowerment Society continues Tuesday in a new venue - the Inn at Laurel Point - and with the same commitment to helping young people improve their lives. It will run from 11 a.m. to 1: 30 p.m., and includes live and silent auctions.

Among the celebrities who have autographed bowls for this year's auctioning efforts are Snoop Dogg, Andie McDowell and Simon Keith.

The Inn's executive chef, Takashi Ito, will be joined by Cheryl Schultz of Cheryl's Gourmet Pantry and the Union Club's Chris Moore in preparing enough soup to feed 500 people.

Sysco Foods, Thrifty Foods and the Southern Vancouver Island Potter's Guild are among key supporters.

As always, soup lovers will be able to choose a handmade bowl to take home with them.

Admission is $25. Purchase tickets at the door or in advance at Bay Centre guest services, Ivy's Book Shop or by calling 250-3833514.

On the web: souperbowls.com

Viva doctors for Vanuatu!

For more than two decades, Victoria doctors have been heading to the South Pacific with anything but sandy beaches and tropical drinks in mind.

Their destination has been Vanuatu, a beautiful but poor island nation highly dependent on foreign aid. Local physicians - there have been 30 over the years from Victoria and southern Vancouver Island - have been spending six-month terms in a Vanuatu hospital.

The initiative is called the Victoria-Vanuatu Physicians Project, or ViVa. Supporters are holding ViVa's annual fundraising dinner/silent auction Nov. 9. at the Marriott Hotel.

Headlining the event will be Richard Feachem, a renowned expert on tropical medicine who became familiar with ViVa during a visit to Vanuatu with the Asia-Pacific Malaria Elimination Network.

He was so impressed with ViVa that he volunteered his time to the fundraising evening.

ViVa's working model sees a doctor serving a population of 45,000, not only with clinical work but also with educating staff and doing outreach to isolated areas.

The doctor's family members are also an important part of the effort and become closely involved with the community during their time there.

The non-profit ViVa group runs on a tight budget, and doctors taking part do so largely at their own expense. Maintenance of the doctors' Vanuatu residence and a truck for outreach work are among the ongoing expenses, with a new truck having to be purchased every four or five years because of the climate and road conditions.

Tickets to the ViVa event are $120. They are available at vivaproject.ca or by sending a cheque to the Victoria-Vanuatu Physicians Association, 1259 Oliver St., V8S 4X1.

HUG A TREE DAY IN OAK BAY

Nov. 4 will be a good day to hug a tree in Oak Bay.

It will be Tree Appreciation Day in the municipality, with members of the public invited to demonstrate their regard for the woody perennials and other flora at Uplands Park from 10 a.m. to noon.

Just show up with a pair of gloves to the park's Beach Drive entrance.

Staff from the Oak Bay parks department will show you the correct way to plant a tree and then have you plant acorns in pots to take home. Friends of Uplands Park will also lead a nature walk.

Plantings will include Garry oaks, native shrubs and flower bulbs, with the Oak Bay Green Committee contributing funds for their purchase.

There is no cost, but donations will be welcome.

For more information, call Margaret Lidkea of the Friends of Uplands Park at 250-595-8084.

GRANNIES TAKE TO THE HILLS

A group of Victoria grandmothers is joining a nationwide "shout out" on Thursday to call for making affordable medicines more available in the fight against AIDS in Africa.

Local members of the Grandmothers Advocacy Network, known as GRAN, will be holding a noon rally at Clover Point. They will be one of 17 gatherings on hilltop areas across the country as grandmothers send their message "from our hill to Parliament Hill." Their cause is to promote the passage of Bill C-398, which proponents say will make it easier for generic drug makers to provide antiretroviral drugs in Africa.

CLUB'S LARGEST DONATION EVER

The Victoria Hospitals Foundation has received $140,000 from organizers of the 35th annual Heart Tournament held at Uplands Golf Club - the largest donation in the history of the club.

This year's gift brings the total from the Heart Tournament over the years to $1.94 million, all of which has gone to cardiac care in the region. The 2012 contribution is being used for the purchase of three "cell savers" for Royal Jubilee Hospital's cardiac-care unit.

Cell savers are used during open-heart and other surgeries to counter blood loss by recovering a patient's blood so it can be reused.

jbell@timescolonist.com

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