$15,000 raised, more to come!

  • Jan. 12, 2005 2:00 p.m.

At this rate, Ottawa’s going to wish it hadn’t promised to match donations to tsunami relief. From pre-schoolers to an elders’ group in Old Massett, people here have really made an unbelievable effort to help out the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Asia, with a contribution totalling at least $15,000. Now, and climbing, Mariah McCooey writes.
In Masset, the coffee house/auction on Saturday was a fantastic success, said David Phillips. “We raised $6,500,” he said, “great, eh?” There were over 40 items on the auction block, including several pieces of local artists’ work and a round trip to Vancouver. “It was a beautiful evening,” he said, which included performances from numerous north-island groups. “It went so smoothly, and everyone was so generous.” People are really looking for a way to connect to this disaster, he said. The money raised was put on a plane to Vancouver right away, so it would make it to Victoria in time for the donation-matching cutoff. Writer and Masset resident Susan Musgrave will be picking up the package when it arrives in Victoria and delivering it personally to the Red Cross.
In Queen Charlotte, the local Roots and Shoots organization put on a garage sale and loonie/toonie auction on Saturday, which raised $3,500. “It was a wonderful success, for two reasons,” said organizer Alison Gear, “the generousity of the individuals and businesses that donated to the auction, and the generousity of the community, donating such wonderful good quality items (for the garage sale).” The reason Roots and Shoots took it on, she said, is because part of their philosophy is to empower kids to feel like they’re making a difference. If you can instill that in youth, it creates a sense of global connectedness, she said. The kids went through their toys, and picked out an item each that they wanted to donate. “And of course, they did a lot of the buying as well!” The money raised by this event will go to the Red Cross.
Faye Beaulieu also organized a collection drive by the St. John’s Ambulance in Queen Charlotte and Skidegate, said that they raised $3,350 in “a two-day blitz” last week.
“People are so generous here,” she said, “we’ve seen it so many times with local people – how we support each other.” The $3,350 raised will be matched by the government, making a total of nearly $7,000. Ms Beaulieu said that when she e-mailed the information down to Vancouver, they were stunned that they raised so much in such a tiny community. The same drive held in Vancouver generated $3,500, she said, despite obvious population differences.
At A.L. Mathers school in Sandspit, principal Sharlene Scofield said that last week was busy, with everyone taking extra time in the classes to discuss the tsunami. “You have various channels to get the facts,” she said, “what happened, where it happened, and who was affected. It’s hard to understand what 150,000 people looks like.” Ms Scofield said that the students were really concerned, and came up with a fundraising idea on their own – a movie night and concession. “Even though they’re already fundraising for a student exchange, this took priority,” she said. “Everyone really feels the need to do something personally, even though it’s just after Christmas and times are tough for some as it is.”
In addition, the Village of Masset and Port Clements each donated $500 to the relief effort, and in Queen Charlotte, a further $477 was raised at the New Year’s Dance – when combined with the government “matching” contribution, makes another $3,000.
And there’s more coming. The Lions are in the midst of organizing an islands-wide raffle, said Terry Tollestrup (Lions’ Zone Chairman) in Queen Charlotte. The $20 tickets will get you a case of Pepsi as well as a chance to win one of several great prizes donated by local businesses. The money raised will go to the Lions’ clubs in the affected regions, to help provide water, shelter, and food for the affected people.
Also upcoming is a Port Clements Elementary School garage- bake- and book-sale from 10-2, Saturday January 15. All proceeds will go to the Lions to ad to their total, and any donations can be dropped off at the school. Principal Claudette Lavoie said that the tsunami has affected them at the school. “It was quite a topic of conversation when we came back to work,” she said, “the students started with a (donation) can in their classroom, and we progressed to ‘let’s do something bigger’.”
All together, the $15,000 donated by islanders will be matched by the feds, making a total of $30,000. This money will go a long way to help people rebuild their lives and homes, and to provide the basic services that people need right away.