VICTORIA, B.C. — Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA) members stepped up this holiday season to raise more than $20,000 for needy families in their communities.
$12,500 was spent on grocery gift cards, distributed by elementary school principals to families struggling to make ends meet. The association noted that these families are often overlooked by other charity efforts.
“We have identified quite a few families in need and with the increasing cost of living, even more of our parents are experience financial hardship,” said Katrin van der Leeden, a teacher at Ruth King Elementary School. “These grocery gift cards from VICA and its members help to alleviate some of the stress and worry that our families experience around the holidays; and perhaps most importantly, their kindness has made a difference in the way our children experience the holiday season.”
Funds went to George Jay Elementary and Oaklands Elementary in Victoria, Tillicum Elementary in Saanich, Ruth King Elementary in Langford, and Georgia Avenue Community School in Nanaimo. Each elementary school principal received $2,500 worth of grocery gift cards to distribute.
“These donations from VICA Members are a testament to the generosity of the individuals that make up our construction community,” said Rory Kulmala, VICA CEO. “We’re proud to represent our local industry and pleased to partner with local school principals who help us support families throughout the year, even after the seasonal spirit of giving ends.”
Leila Durzi, family liaison worker at George Jay Elementary explained that many families have needs but don’t ask.
“I know the families and the cycle,” said Durzi. “There’s often a high need in January, after the holidays, as well as September because families have gone all summer without any support.”
Funds for the grocery gift cards were raised at VICA’s Christmas Luncheon through 50/50 tickets, a silent auction, and a change challenge, where guests empty their pockets and wallets to fill paint cans with cash.
On top of the funds raised at the Luncheon, $7,700 worth of new, unwrapped toys were collected at both VICA offices and donated to The Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, CFAX Santas Anonymous Society, the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association, the Parksville Society of Organized Services, and Santa’s Workshop in Courtenay. For a list of VICA Member toy donors, visit vicabc.ca/toydrive.