Our Community: Sooke firefighters help Christmas Bureau, Run Through Time goes virtual

The Sooke Firefighters Association and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 4841 raised more than $36,700 for the Sooke Christmas Bureau through its annual Sooke Firefighters Charitable Giving ­Campaign.

The money, which will support the Sooke Food Bank, was collected online, through contactless means ­during the Sooke Santa Run and in front of local grocery stores.

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“Our firefighters wanted to ensure we could still participate in a way that was safe for the community and safe for the team,” said Heather Lane, ­project co-chair firefighter.

Mayor Maja Tait called donors’ ­generosity a “virtual hug for the ­community.”

“Sooke is a resilient community, with so much heart,” she said. “

As we look ahead to a new year, what a way to show heart with residents supporting each other through this campaign and contributions to the Sooke Food Bank.”

•To learn more about the Sooke Food Bank, go to foodbanksooke.org.

Find how how you can take action to help British Columbians living with dementia during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, throughout January.

Hosted by the Alzheimer Society of B.C., the annual campaign invites Victoria residents to hear stories of people affected by the disease throughout the month.

Listen in on a webinar on Jan. 17 — Raise your voice: Dementia, long-term care and COVID-19 — featuring a panel discussion on the challenges of balancing health and safety concerns with ensuring families can support people living with dementia in long-term care to stay active and engaged.

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. supports people living with dementia, their caregivers and family members.

Get help by asking your health-care provider for a referral or by calling the First Link Dementia Helpline at 1-800-936-6033. For more information, go to alzbc.org/future.

Camp Qwanoes, a youth-oriented non-profit Christian camp, is hoping to raise $300,000 to weather the COVID-19 pandemic and welcome back campers this summer.

The camp, founded in 1966 and situated on 22 hectares of waterfront property between Victoria and Nanaimo, is running a deficit of $300,000, putting its future viability in jeopardy.

“At Qwanoes, we’re all about gathering people close together,” said Scott Bailey, executive director of the camp. “When we started 2020, I could never have imagined that we would lose 99 per cent of our guest bookings, all retreats and have to cancel overnight summer camps for all 4,500 campers.”

For more information, or to donate, go to qwanoes.ca or gofundme.com.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to run away from 2020 and into 2021, join a virtual Run Through Time, now until Jan. 9.

The Run Through Time event is usually held on New Year’s Eve but had to go virtual this year because of COVID-19.

Participants are invited to run or walk five kilometres — at any time, anywhere — until Jan. 9. The goal is to raise funds for Runners of Compassion and Shoes for Youth, which help provide footwear for the underprivileged.

“Even if we raise a few hundred dollars, that will buy 10 pairs of shoes for kids in need,” says Nick Walker, co-owner of Frontrunners Footwear.

This is the 32nd year of the annual event.

Participants can submit their results on Race Roster after their runs or walks and receive a finisher certificate.

Registration is $15 and available online at raceroster.com/events/2020/37692/32nd-annual-virtual-run-through-time. For more information, go to rocnanaimo.com.

The United Way Greater Victoria is recognizing British Columbia Investment Management Corporation for running an annual employee giving program that has raised more than $1.1 million in 20 years.

Since its inception, the corporation, which provides investment management services for the province’s public sector, has run a workplace giving campaign for the United Way of Greater Victoria, so employees can give back to the community. This year, the program went virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are extremely grateful for BCI’s corporate leadership and the generosity its employees have long demonstrated, especially as community needs have never been greater,” said Mark Breslauer, CEO of United Way Greater Victoria, which helped more than 90,000 individuals in the Greater Victoria area last year.

Funds go towards funding meals and companionship programs for isolated seniors, counselling services for those struggling with mental health concerns, mentorship programs for youth looking for guidance, parenting programs for new mothers, employment and skill-training workshops, financial-literacy training, and respite care for family caregivers.

For more information, or to donate, go to uwgv.ca.

Hundreds of clients of the Victoria Cool Aid Society had a more joyful Christmas, thanks to the generosity of those who responded to the society’s Everyone Deserves Joy campaign in December.

The donations enabled the society to buy and distribute more than 1,000 gift cards to those in need. The gift cards were given to tenants living in Cool Aid’s supportive housing as well as every shelter guest on Christmas Day.

“We want to thank everyone for helping out and showing that you care,” said Lori Angelini, philanthropy manager. “These gift cards will empower people with very limited income to go out and do their own shopping. This is really special for clients.”

Cool Aid continues to seek donations to buy $25 grocery cards, which will be provided weekly to all tenants who do not have prepared meals served in their building.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society, founded in 1968, provides housing, health and dental care, support and emergency shelters for 12,000 people in the capital region every year.

For more information, or to donate, go to coolaid.org/giftcards.

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