Giving Back

In the last issue, we asked how you volunteer in your community.  Here is  Marisa’s inspiring story:

“I started volunteering 4 years ago after a sudden split with my husband to keep myself busy. It really humbled me and it started to help me get through the tough time in my life.

I have spearheaded a variety of volunteering opportunities in Victoria.  As the President of my Rotary Club for the year 2018/2019 I was able to do what I love helping in my community and have the other members from my club volunteer alongside me. I rolled out the Power of One Hour – I asked every member of my club for 1 hour of their time once a month, setting aside time for community service.

My favourite project of the year was The Backpack Project. Last year our club was able to fill over 200 backpacks for the street community in Victoria.  We collected items in two ways. The first, donation bins were placed around the city and once a week I would empty them and take them to a sorting centre where we had boxes labeled for the different items. Second, my club put together a fundraiser the summer before at YYJ Car Free Day in Downtown Victoria where we sold beef jerky, popcorn, cold drinks etc.  We raised over $1000 to buy backpacks and items for the backpacks. The backpacks were filled with warm clothing, blankets, toiletries, food and snack and given to shelters in and around Victoria.  The backpacks were also distributed on Christmas Day to people living on the streets. This will be my 5th year helping with this project, which is near and dear to my heart.

Other local community service projects we have participated in are a sock drive for a homeless shelter called Rock Bay landing. Shelters go through socks faster than any item so we collected socks and donate them.  We also volunteered at a shelter putting together harm reduction kits to help stop the spread of diseases and infections through intravenous needles. “Soap for Hope” was another project where we collect soaps, shampoos and conditioners from hotels and send hygiene kits to 3rd world countries.  Larger projects included raising over $2500 USD from selling handmaid scarves.  This allowed us to participate in a Global Grant to bring propane stoves to 2 small communities in Guatemala. Lastly we put $500 towards a library project at a local outreach called Victoria Native Friendship Centre.

– Marisa Heron, Executive Assistant