Island Ford's Volunteer team had a lot of fun at the various volunteer events held throughout the year. From pirate bowling with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cowichan Valley to a Masquerade with Cowichan Women Against Violence, it was a joy to be able to give back to the community. Our Island Ford family extends beyond our store into our community and homes, and to our fur family members as well. If you're wondering about all of the charities we gave to, and what they do, here is the comprehensive list of the 15 charities that together received $50,000.
Big Brothers Big Sisters works to ensure that "every child in Canada who needs a mentor has a mentor". By matching youth to role models and mentors they work towards helping children reach their full potential. If you've heard the saying "it takes a community to raise a child," this is the organization that puts those words into action. Big Brothers Big Sisters has been operational for 100 years, and have matched over 40,000 children with volunteers.
The Cowichan District Hospital Foundation (CDHF) was established in 1984 as a registered charity for the purpose of raising funds to purchase equipment and support patient/resident care and comfort at Cowichan District Hospital and Cairnsmore Place. The CDHF raises money through various events during the year, namely their Annual Dinner Auction, Golf Tournament, and Annual Appeal.
The Cowichan Women Against Violence Organization was started by a group of women as a crisis line. Over the last 37 years they have grown, literally with the purchase of Somenos House, and are providing support to approximately 1,000 women and children each year. They have many different programs for women and children, like Stopping the Violence, and the Children Who Witness Abuse program, as well as Horizons Pre-Employment.
The Purica Foundation is a fund held with the Victoria Foundation, designed to generate charitable donations, fundraising initiatives, and promotional support for key community initiatives throughout the Valley. Proceeds of the 2017 Gala benefit the Cowichan Hospice Society. In total, more than $130,000 was raised for Cowichan Hospice and the Cowichan House Hospice Project.
The Basket was started in 1988 by a group of Cowichan Valley residents who saw a great need for a coordinated answer to hunger in the area. Their Mission is that no individual or family in the Cowichan Valley goes hungry either physically, spiritually or emotionally.
The Providence Therapeutic Farm Program has been been serving the Cowichan Valley since 1979. Operating on a working farm, programs include horticulture therapy, art, woodworking, nutrition, gardening and landscaping, and more. They believe that caring for the land together is therapeutic, and they provide a community to those who have mental health or developmental challenges. Providence Farm is committed to serving the needs, and fostering the talents of those in the Cowichan Valley.
The SPCA works to protect and enhance the quality of life for animals. They want to ensure animals have their essential needs like hunger and safety met, and do this by working with the community to foster a sense of responsibility for animal welfare. In 2016, the BC SPCA (this includes 44 locations, not just the Cowichan & District Branch) helped 42,970 animals, sheltered 26,213 animals, and found homes for 15,594 animals. In our community, it is unfortunately common to see stray or feral animals in need of care.
Warmland House provides a safe, supportive environment, as well as support services for people who are also trying to cope with other life challenges. They provide a 30-bed emergency shelter for those who need help meeting their basic needs. They also provide 24 transitional housing studio apartments for those who can live on their own but could use support and assistance in stabilizing their lifestyle. There is also a day-use common area with showers and laundry, lockers, a resource room, a commercial kitchen and dining area, and a community garden. An extreme weather shelter provides shelter to homeless people when the weather conditions are deemed severe enough to present a threat to their life.
Nestled into the Cowichan Valley, The Farm offers a safe and supportive environment for men to start a life free of addiction. The local working farm gives men recovering from addiction and destructive behavior the opportunity to improve their lives and themselves by helping them to restore their confidence as they gain skills to better themselves, and help them succeed in life.
Located in the Cowichan Station, the HUB provides a mix of community-run free programs for all ages. The HUB offers affordable rental spaces where artists, musicians, educators, and social organizations pursue their passions and lead their classes. It is a gathering place where people from all over the Cowichan Valley converge for art, culture, and recreational activities.
Victoria Youth for Christ Mobile Outreach is committed to providing support and community to First Nations Youth through partnerships with local churches. They lead weekly programs that aim to serve First Nations youth in practical ways that communicate the love of Jesus Christ in culturally sensitive and relevant ways. They work to help youth reach their full potential emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually. Youth For Christ provides a safe environment for First Nations youth aged 8 through 18, and strive to empower them and make sure that they know they are loved. They participate in crafts, sports, snacks, games, First Nations language, and if the parents consent, "God Talks".
Variety - the Children's Charity steps in where health care ends, providing direct help to children with special needs in BC and the Yukon. For over 50 years Variety has ensured children have the support to reach their potential and thrive. A member of our team has very close ties to this organization, and the Nicole Stock Penny Drive.
The Nichole Stock Penny Drive was started in 1991 by local Youngster Nicole Stock. She started the penny drive to support the "Sunshine Coaches', a program which supplies specially-equipped vans throughout BC (donated to various children's organizations) to help transport children in comfort and safety to places of education, recreation, and therapy. Stock passed away in 1999, from complications after undergoing heart surgery, just shy of her eighteenth birthday. The penny drive has continued supporting her ambitions, with the current stewards of the fund-raising efforts being the Lake Cowichan Seniors' Centre. The funds donated will go toward the Sunshine Coach program through the Variety Children's Charity.
The Cowichan Green Community Society focuses on environmental sustainability in the Cowichan Valley. This is their 13th year in operation. Since 2007, the focus of this organization has been geared toward improving food security. They believe in developing strong relationships with local food producers with the intent to increase urban food production.
The Wheels for Wellness Society was formed in Comox by the owner of Designated Drivers in 1997. The purpose is to provide transportation to centralized medical appointments for those requiring it.
This was just our first year. Next year is going to be bigger and better. If you have a suggestion for a charity in the Cowichan Valley that could benefit from the Island Ford giving team, let us know in the comments below.