Victoria Cool Aid Society | December 2016 - Victoria Cool Aid Society

Urban Barn “Blanket the Country in Warmth” Campaign

Urban Barn Shares Winter Warmth

urban-barn-blanketUrban Barn customers have come through once again with their “Blanket the Country in Warmth” campaign.

Throughout the month of November, Urban Barn at Uptown Shopping Centre invited its customers to join them for the fifth consecutive year to blanket the city in warmth. For every $5.00 donation collected by the Canadian furniture and home accent retailer, a brand-new Urban Barn fleece blanket was donated to the Victoria Cool Aid (VCA) Society to provide warmth for those seeking comfort in one of their three emergency shelters.

“Our initial goal for the year was 364 and we ended up getting close to 500” said store manager Kristy Pellew. “We got really pumped up this year; we even set up a table outside. We love doing it. This time of year can be so chaotic; it’s nice to focus on something that can actually change someone’s life.”

The donated blankets have been a welcomed gift for those seeking refuge at the VCA Society’s Rock Bay Landing emergency shelter, which provides 84 shelter beds.

“I love that the community gives back and continues to give back year after year,” says Joann Connelly of Rock Bay Landing. “People love the blankets. They are red and Christmassy and provide so much warmth.”

Cool Aid provides the blankets to those that move out of the shelter as a parting gift or to those who remain outside and need extra warmth.

The initiative ran across all Urban Barn retail locations in Canada, providing a grand total of 15,000 blankets to the cause. Cash donations were also accepted and provided to the VCA Society.

To learn more about ‘Blanket the Country in Warmth’, please visit www.blanketthecountry.com

In Victoria, Urban Barn is located at 3450 Uptown Boulevard. To find out more, visit www.urbanbarn.com/victoria

Learn about the Victoria Cool Aid Society at https://coolaid.org.

 

Shoe Box Project provides hope to Victoria women in need

shoeboxFour years ago, Linda Ferguson went to Vancouver to visit her daughter and came back with a vision that would help change the lives of several Victoria-area women in need.

“My daughter told me about the how the Shoe Box Project was providing these wonderful boxes to women in Vancouver and I thought it was an easy way to give so I became a co-ordinator here,” says Linda.

Linda took the idea to her colleagues at the Westshore Women’s Business Network and The Victoria Shoe Box Project has been steadily growing each year, providing boxes of hope to women in shelters throughout the region.

“It resonated with me,” Linda explains. “Going to a shelter is a last resort for these women. They are feeling lost and ashamed. No matter what has happened in their life, they need to feel special. This gives them a leg up and often becomes a turning point.”

The boxes are certainly filled with those things a woman would find special – gloves, a scarf, an inspirational note, books, jewellery, lipstick, movie tickets and a hair salon gift certificate. With no funds for marketing and advertising, they rely strictly on word of mouth, and word has certainly spread.

“We have over 1,000 boxes this year from our drop off locations from Sooke to Sidney and they’re still being delivered,” says Linda proudly.

Linda doesn’t ever get to see the reactions of the recipients, but always receives letters of thanks from the shelter administrators. One of those individuals is Christine O’Brien of Sandy Merriman House, Cool Aid’s women’s shelter. Each person coming to their program is gifted with one of the boxes.

“The shoeboxes are a treasured gift,” says Christine. “It’s pretty awesome when they see that the boxes are full of such wonderful items and packed so beautifully. It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement watching someone go through everything. It means a great deal to us to be able to give people a cheery Christmas, to have wrapping paper all over the house, people laughing and smiling.”

For more about the Victoria Shoe Box Project, visit their Facebook Page.
To learn about the Victoria Cool Aid Society and the programs they support, please visit https://www.coolaid.org.

Carl Young Estate Creates Pets In Need Endowment & Much More

December 16, 2016 – Victoria – In March 2015, Carl Graham Young passed away in advance of his years in an car accident. Although he had never held a job in his life due to a disability, he was in possession of a life insurance policy and had inherited the family home. As well, he had a generous spirit. Victoria Cool Aid Society was the sole beneficiary of Carl’s entire estate, and from this unlikely donor, our biggest gift ever has been received. In total, about $388,000 in net proceeds are expected from the estate and life insurance gifts.

A news conference will be held today at Mount Edwards Court (1002 Vancouver Street) at 2 pm to explain how Carl Young’s estate and life insurance gifts will be used. Attending will be representatives of Cool Aid; a friend of the Young family; SAFARS, a local organization which provides pet food and other pet assistance to Cool Aid clients; and a dog named Electra who recently received a needed operation thanks to Carl Young’s generosity and love of animals.

  • The bulk of Carl Young’s estate and life insurance gifts, about $250,000, will be used to help develop additional pet-friendly housing for people who are currently homeless. This will help build a dozen apartments.
  • $50,000 has been used to establish the “Pets In Need (Carl Young) Endowment” at the Victoria Foundation and a Cool Aid operating fund for pets in need. Any member of the public may contribute to this endowment to help pets in need, in perpetuity.
  • $50,000 will help clients of REES Program, including the Every Step Counts running program and other services and support for people who are living with mental health and addiction challenges.
  • $38,000 will be invested in fund development to leverage additional donations for Cool Aid housing and other services.

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Information:      www.CoolAid.org/bequest         www.CoolAid.org/endowment

 

The front page Times Colonist article about Carl Young from April 2015 appears below.

 

Alan Rycroft, Community Relations, 250-414-4781, arycroft@CoolAid.org (only until Friday @ 4:30 pm)

Kathy Stinson, CEO, 250-383-1977, kstinson@CoolAid.org

John Sherratt, Mount Edwards Court, 778-265-3456, jsherratt@CoolAid.org
Lori Ritchie, family friend, 250-871-1150, loriritchie12@gmail.com
Margarita Dominguez, SAFARS, 778-352-2999, safars.org@hotmail.com


Saanich man who died in crash donates home to Cool Aid

Katie DeRosa / Times Colonist

April 8, 2015 06:00 AM

A 60-year-old Saanich man who died in a single-vehicle crash last month has left his house to the Victoria Cool Aid Society, ensuring that, in death as in life, he will help the homeless.

Carl Graham Young was the passenger in a van that crashed into trees on Old West Saanich Road on March 21.

carl-young-rocking-chairYoung died at the scene and his dog, Turbo, was taken to a veterinary hospital and put down a few days later. Saanich police are investigating whether the driver was impaired at the time of the crash.

Young lived all his life in his parents’ modest bungalow at 3937 Grange Rd. He never married and never had kids. His parents, Edward and Diane, and his brother, Andrew, have died, leaving Young with the property.

About 18 months ago, Young approached staff at Cool Aid and said he wanted to make the non-profit organization, which runs homeless shelters and low-income housing facilities, the sole beneficiary of his estate, said Alan Rycroft, the society’s spokesman.

“He was a simple man but obviously a very caring person. He asked that some of the proceeds in the estate also be used to help homeless pets,” Rycroft said.

“He loved his dog very much and he also wanted to make sure pets of the homeless are also looked after.”

In an obituary provided by a family friend to Rycroft, Young was described as an avid fan of the Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Blue Jays and car racing.

“Carl had an unusual memory for sports statistics and birth dates,” the obituary says.

“He could be found many times a day walking his dog Turbo in the Marigold area while socializing with his neighbours.”

The obituary says instead of a service, his friends will hold a barbecue to celebrate his life.

Donations in his name can be made to Cool Aid or the SPCA.

At the time of his death, Young was on a disability pension.

“Carl had a heart of gold and his door was always open to those who needed a safe haven … coffee or a meal,” his friend wrote.

There were two trailers sitting in the side yard of the home and Young would often let friends who were at risk of being homeless stay there, which at times caused problems with neighbours in the quiet residential area.

“He hung out with a group of people who could well be Cool Aid clients,” Rycroft said, adding that he spoke with one man who lived in the trailer.

“[Young] did help out people who he knew were in dire circumstances.”

No one is currently living on the property and Cool Aid staff have cleared out the house.

It is assessed at $392,100, according to B.C. Assessment records. There is a small mortgage outstanding, but Rycroft said after the probate process is completed and the property is sold, Cool Aid will likely receive a six-figure donation.

The property is not large enough to build a low-income residential facility, so the cash will go toward funding housing for the homeless and supporting their pets.

“Even though he didn’t have very much, he is going to make a difference,” Rycroft said. “One of the lessons Carl can teach us all is that we all have something to give.”

kderosa@timescolonist.com

© Copyright Times Colonist

 

Fred Is Giving Back

Some of you may recognize Fred — he is the always smiling, cheerful Megaphone Magazine salesman and the “Hope From the Shadows” calendar salesman. You may also see him toting a camera with him at all times. Fred is quite the talented photographer, even receiving an honourable mention in the Hope For Shadows Calendar (check out his picture below!)

Fred Willingdon Honourable Mention Photo Fred embodies what Cool Aid is about—focusing on the future and where he is at today, not where he was in the past. With that in mind, when we sat down with Fred, he focused on something a bit different in front of the camera: He focused on the Cool Aid staff:

“When I first came to Cool Aid, the thing that stood out, and still does stand out-are the people! The staff here are wonderful.”

Fred went on to tell us a bit about his history, but was soon showing his photos off, explaining more about the Megaphone Magazine, and filling us in on the calendar. He also talked about Project Connect 2015, in which he was given the wonderful opportunity to sell the magazines and has been doing so ever since to assist with extra income.

Another favourite moment with Fred was the heartwarming story he told us  about a new staff member to Cool Aid’s Mike Gidora Place. We would encourage you to take a few moments to watch it by clicking here.

As Fred said it best right at the beginning of the video clip “Cool Aid is a great organization—they give hope.”

To watch more of our clients stories, visit our YouTube channel and stay tuned for more pictures and photos on our Facebook Page from Fred in the future! You can find links to all of Cool Aid’s social media channels on this web site.

Fred Willingdon photos

Fred Willingdon photos

Fred sells Megaphone magazine and Hope in Shadows calendars

Fred sells Megaphone magazine and Hope in Shadows calendars

What I Learned From Carl Young

carl-young-rocking-chairby Alan Rycroft

I met Carl Young just once. But he made a strong impression on me. When he and his dog Turbo died in a car accident a year later, on March 21, 2015, I was amazed at what this simple, caring man had accomplished.

Carl Young lived his whole life in the family home near Spectrum school. Due to a disability, he was unable to hold a job. He never had a girlfriend nor fathered any children. But he was a happy man.

Neighbours described Carl as a softspoken man with a heart of gold. He had a keen memory for names and numbers and always greeted everyone by name. If you shared your date of birth and phone number, Carl would call you every birthday to wish you well.

He was generous with his friends, some of whom were homeless. Even though he himself lived in poverty, he allowed many people to stay on his property. His home was a safe haven for those who needed a coffee, a meal, a Lucky or a warm and dry couch to sleep.

Most of all, Carl loved his dog Turbo. He is most remembered in his Saanich neighbourhood as the nice fellow who walked his dog several times daily. Or, as I was told, that Turbo, a large, strong dog, was fond of walking Carl!

When I met Carl he had no living family left. His brother had died several years ago, and Carl inherited the family home, after his parents both passed away.

Thankfully, at the suggestion of a friend, Carl Young found a lawyer and had a will and life insurance policy drawn up. He left the family home, his only asset, to Cool Aid, and named the society as the sole beneficiary of his life insurance.

Carl specified that he wanted to benefit homeless pets, as well as people like his friends. So this is what Cool Aid is doing:

  • Most of the funds from the property sale will contribute to building eight or more apartments for people, like his friends, who are homeless.
  • A sum of $50,000 will endow two Pets in Need Funds, one with the Victoria Foundation and one at Cool Aid, to provide food, medicines, and medical procedures, etc. for pets whose owners can’t afford these for their beloved companions.

I learned something deep in my heart from Carl Graham Edward Young that I had only known as an intellectual concept: Everyone can make a difference.

Rest in Peace, Carl Graham Edward Young. We have much to learn from you.


Saanich man who died in crash donates home to Cool Aid

A 60-year-old Saanich man who died in a single-vehicle crash last month has left his house to the Victoria Cool Aid Society, ensuring that, in death as in life, he will help the homeless.

Carl Graham Young was the passenger in a van that crashed into trees on Old West Saanich Road on March 21.

Young died at the scene and his dog, Turbo, was taken to a veterinary hospital and put down a few days later. Saanich police are investigating whether the driver was impaired at the time of the crash.

Young lived all his life in his parents’ modest bungalow at 3937 Grange Rd. He never married and never had kids. His parents, Edward and Diane, and his brother, Andrew, have died, leaving Young with the property.

About 18 months ago, Young approached staff at Cool Aid and said he wanted to make the non-profit organization, which runs homeless shelters and low-income housing facilities, the sole beneficiary of his estate, said Alan Rycroft, the society’s spokesman.

“He was a simple man but obviously a very caring person. He asked that some of the proceeds in the estate also be used to help homeless pets,” Rycroft said.

“He loved his dog very much and he also wanted to make sure pets of the homeless are also looked after.”

In an obituary provided by a family friend to Rycroft, Young was described as an avid fan of the Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Blue Jays and car racing.

“Carl had an unusual memory for sports statistics and birth dates,” the obituary says.

“He could be found many times a day walking his dog Turbo in the Marigold area while socializing with his neighbours.”

The obituary says instead of a service, his friends will hold a barbecue to celebrate his life.

Donations in his name can be made to Cool Aid or the SPCA.

At the time of his death, Young was on a disability pension.

“Carl had a heart of gold and his door was always open to those who needed a safe haven … coffee or a meal,” his friend wrote.

There were two trailers sitting in the side yard of the home and Young would often let friends who were at risk of being homeless stay there, which at times caused problems with neighbours in the quiet residential area.

“He hung out with a group of people who could well be Cool Aid clients,” Rycroft said, adding that he spoke with one man who lived in the trailer.

“[Young] did help out people who he knew were in dire circumstances.”

No one is currently living on the property and Cool Aid staff have cleared out the house.

It is assessed at $392,100, according to B.C. Assessment records. There is a small mortgage outstanding, but Rycroft said after the probate process is completed and the property is sold, Cool Aid will likely receive a six-figure donation.

The property is not large enough to build a low-income residential facility, so the cash will go toward funding housing for the homeless and supporting their pets.

“Even though he didn’t have very much, he is going to make a difference,” Rycroft said. “One of the lessons Carl can teach us all is that we all have something to give.”

kderosa@timescolonist.com

© Copyright Times Colonist

Tickets for Irene Haigh-Gidora’s Retirement Celebration

Thank you for joining us in honouring Irene Haigh-Gidora: Thursday, January 19!

Doors open at 5 pm at the Catalano Restaurant, 619 Courtney Street.

Celebrating Ten Years of Eric’s Chili Bandit Supper

Bandit Chili SupperTen years ago, Eric walked into the Downtown Community Centre with a vision. A vision of offering entertainment, a warm meal, and an evening to remember to those who otherwise wouldn’t get to experience anything like it. Donna, our Community Centre Coordinator listened to Eric and took his idea and helped him grow it into the event that we are gearing up for this December 10, 2016:

The Bandit Benefit Chili Supper & Concert!!

This dinner is a chance for anyone and everyone to get a warm meal, listen to some fantastic music, and to enjoy — at no cost to them! But that’s not the only thing that makes this dinner special. The humble beginnings and the back story of how this event came to be are truly inspiring.

The first year Eric planned this dinner he himself was homeless. Eric had unfortunately, been a car accident that year and was out of work. He came to the Downtown Community Centre looking for help and assistance in getting his life back. Donna and the team stepped right up, and with the help of Cool Aid and the resources offered he overcame every challenge that he faced. To top it all off, he gave something back to Cool Aid and the community Centre, in the form of the Chili Bandit Supper & Concert.

Eric, with the help of the Downtown Community Centre, and multiple sponsors around the greater Victoria area, have been able to keep this dinner going for ten straight years! It has become a staple and tradition once December hits and we have been able to watch him turn it into something far greater than just one dinner — it’s a stepping stone in creating community!

We are thrilled to be able to work with Eric year after year to continue on with this wonderful event and invite you to check out his video about what the dinner means to him:

Alan Rycroft, Community Relations Manager

alan-rycroft-web-2016Alan Rycroft has over 20 years experience managing fund development, media relations, strategic communications, web sites, campaigns, events and newswires within government, non-profit agencies and the private sector.

Since 2006, Alan has managed Community Relations for the Victoria Cool Aid Society. In his role as Manager, he is responsible for communications and marketing and also plays an active role in fund development.  He volunteers with a variety of small organizations helping them improve their communications and fundraising.

Alan’s work has been instrumental in raising Cool Aid’s profile in the community and in increasing the dollars available for capital projects (buildings) and operating costs.

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Beard On or Beard Off Raises $6,435!

Brian Bates Beard On Beard Off posterFinal Update, Monday, January 16, 2017

Five gentlemen who offered their glorious manes for a good cause – helping people who are homeless and vulnerable through the Victoria Cool Aid Society, last night made the “ultimate sacrifice” of their beards. More dollars were voted towards shaving the beards than towards saving them. In total, $6,435 was raised for REES Support Services through this unique and fun initiative. Final tally:

Beards Off: $3,565 ($2,535 online + $1,030 at Saint Franks)

Beards On: $2,870 ($2,370 online + $500 at Saint Franks)

Cool Aid is very grateful for the four men (formerly with beards) who live in Victoria: Brian Bates, Braeden Papp, Nick Johnson and David Mitchell, and Frank Motschko in Kelowna.

There was a packed house at Saint Franks last night and literally standing room only and celebrity energy surrounding the Victory Barber Shop at the back of Saint Franks when their amazing beards were shaved off after voting closed. A big thank you goes to these businesses and the event sponsor Driftwood Brewery.

Both online and Saint Franks voting ended Sunday night. Members of the public who wish to show their solidarity for their sacrifice can still make a charitable donation at www.CoolAid.org/donate. Please note your gift is in support of “Beard On – Beard Off”.

Visit Facebook.com/beardonoff to watch the dramatic videos and learn more.


Update – Sunday, January 15, 2017

Tonight’s the night when the big decision is made. Will the five gorgeous, long beards be lopped off or will they remain? Only you can decide.

Vote online until 8 pm tonight. Or live 4-8 pm to witness the drama and chaos:

Saint Franks, 1320 Broad Street, Victoria

Save them!    https://beardon.causevox.com

Shave them!  https://beardoff.causevox.com


Victoria – December 1, 2016 – Two years ago, Brian Bates offered up his glorious mane to help people in need by supporting the Victoria Cool Aid Society. Bids to shave the beard off or save the beard (on) came in at over $2,700, with the “Beard On” forces winning by a whisker. This year, Brian has convinced two other men (Nicholas Johnson and Braeden Papp) to join him and offer up their glorious beards in the name of a good cause. They are hoping to raise $10,000 for the Victoria Cool Aid Society.

Come meet these gentlemen and learn what motivates them to offer up their most precious beards. “Beard On/Beard Off: 2” launches this Friday, December 2, at the Victory Barber Shop in the back of Saint Franks, 1320 Broad Street at 9 am.

If you love bushy beards, or even if you hate them, now is your chance to have your say. Visit Facebook.com/beardonoff to watch the dramatic video, learn more and contribute. All proceeds will help the Victoria Cool Aid Society programs.

Vote:

Vote with your donation to keep the beards on.

Or vote here to shave them off!

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Information: Facebook.com/beardonoff

Brian Bates, brbates@gmail.com

Alan Rycroft, Cool Aid, 250-414-4781, arycroft@CoolAid.org

Braeden, Brian & Nick sporting their beards

Braeden, Brian & Nick sporting their beards

 


An article about the first “Beard On – Beard Off” appeared in the Province in January 2015 and follows:

Everyone wins (except mom): Beard stays, Cool Aid Society gets $2,740
The Province
January 16, 2015 09:42 PM

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/everyone-wins-except-mom-beard-stays-cool-aid-society-gets-2-740-1.1734249

The people have spoken: Brian Bates will keep his beard, which he has been growing for about a year.

The beard abides.

The fate of Brian Bates’s facial hair has been decided by family, friends and complete strangers in an Internet competition designed to raise money for a Victoria-area charity.

brian-bates-cam-shot-2015In early December, Bates launched a crowdfunding campaign on CauseVox asking people to donate to one of two sites — Beard On or Beard Off — with the proceeds from both going to help the homeless.

With $1,485 raised, the Beard On campaign squeaked out a win, and Bates’s glorious blond mane — a year’s work — will remain. The Beard Off campaign, strongly supported by Bates’s mother, came close with $1,255 in donations.

“I had resigned myself to shaving it,” Bates said Thursday, a few hours before the campaign’s midnight close. “I was expecting a landslide, so I was shocked to see it come this close.”

Bates will donate all the money to the Victoria Cool Aid Society, which runs several supportive housing buildings and shelters, in addition to a health and community centre, helping about 9,000 Victoria homeless each year.

The society is planning a “decorating event” in the beard’s honour.

© Copyright Times Colonist