By LISSA ALEXANDER
Special to the PQB News
Although school didn’t end quite as they thought, Ballenas Interact Club members were still able to wrap up their year and allocate the funds they raised to important community causes.
“We know about the great programs SOS offers and that we can do a small part to keep those going,” said Joanna Waite, vice president of the club.
The Ballenas Interact Club is comprised of youth Grades 8 through 12 at Ballenas Secondary School, and is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Parksville AM. As its Facebook page suggests, the club aims to make the world a better place, and club president Spencer Bradbury explained that they do this by volunteering, and supporting local, as well as global initiatives. Members fundraise throughout the year, including a bottle collection program at BSS, concession stands at school theatre performances, a pancake breakfast, and other smaller sales.
During the last school year, the club raised about $3,000, some of which was carried over from the year before. In a usual school year, club members would discuss where to spend the raised funds, and then vote. When COVID-19 struck, they had to take their meetings online, but were still able to poll group members, choose recipients, and disperse the funds.
SOS received $1,000 for its Grateful Hearts campaign, to help keep essential services available and to help restart child, youth and family programs in the fall.
Club member Sharon Mathew has attended SOS youth programs in the past and said it was important that the programs continue.
“We know [SOS is] giving back to the community, and providing programs that help kids,” she said. “So we’re giving back to local people during this situation we’re in.”
The club also donated $1,000 to the Salvation Army Food Bank, and bought a picnic bench for Shelly Park. Internationally, they are funding ongoing microloans.
SOS started its Grateful Hearts Campaign in April in order to keep essential services available such as its Emergency Assistance & Advocacy program, Meals on Wheels, Seniors Grocery Shopping, Seniors Friendly Phone Visiting, Homeless Prevention Program, Counselling Referral, Seniors Advocacy Services and the Income Tax program.
Local families can help SOS bring back programs by hosting an event this summer with proceeds coming to SOS. More information on this initiative, called Summer Family Fun for SOS, can be found on the SOS website blog, at www.sosd69.com.
To make a financial donation to SOS, visit the website, call 250-248-2093, or mail a cheque to 245 West Hirst Ave. PO Box 898, Parksville B.C., V9P 2G9.