From left: Liam, 10, Ewan, 8, and Connor, 4, with their project about the importance of remembering the service and sacrifice of veterans. The boys began raising money for the Salvation Army after hearing about a shortage of donations at the food bank and after learning their grandfather stayed at the Salvation Army after returning from the Second World War. — Lauren Collins photo

Qualicum Beach’s busking brothers raise money for soup kitchen

Liam, Ewan and Connor also received award, voucher for fundraising

Three young brothers are busking for change in Parksville Qualicum Beach.

Since the summer, 10-year-old Liam, eight-year-old Ewan and four-year-old Connor Docherty, who moved to Qualicum Beach from Salt Spring Island a little more than a year ago, have been busking at Thrifty Foods in Parksville and the Qualicum Beach Farmers Market to raise money for the Salvation Army, after having seen an article in The NEWS that the food bank was running low.

RELATED: Parksville Qualicum Beach food bank faces severe shortage

Natalie Docherty, the boys’ mom, said the brothers had a goal of covering the costs of running the Salvation Army soup kitchen for four days.

“When we spoke to Earl (Blacklock) at the Salvation Army, he explained that it costs $400 to run the soup kitchen for one day and that feeds 100 men, women and children. So we hoped to cover the four days they run it per week,” Natalie said.

As of last week, the brothers had surpassed their goal and had raised $1,700. Of that money, $600 was awarded to the boys for winning the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award in the ages five to 10 category at the Association of Fundraising Professionals Victoria chapter on Nov. 22.

Natalie said she’d seen an advertisement asking for nominations for the award and she decided to nominate her sons, who had previously raised money for the emergency shelter in 2015 while they lived on Salt Spring Island.

Liam said while living on Salt Spring, the brothers had seen other locals kids busking at the local market and decided to try it out.

But then, Liam said, they heard the emergency shelter had issued an urgent appeal for donations.

“We saw that the emergency shelter was running low on supplies and money, so we thought maybe instead of busking for ourselves, we could busk for other people as well,” Liam said.

Liam said he and his brothers also raised enough money for the Salt Spring food bank to provide a child in the community with three meals a day for one year.

At the awards ceremony, Liam got up to speak on behalf of his brothers.

“We would like our final thank you to be for the Salvation Army for the work they do both in our local community and elsewhere and we hope that our music can continue to make a difference for the most vulnerable people in our community.”

Earlier this year, Natalie said the boys, who are homeschooled, worked on a project about the importance of remembering the service and sacrifice of veterans. It was through that, she said, the boys got into raising money for the Salvation Army.

“Their great-grandfather, after he came back from World War II, he didn’t have anywhere to live, he had no family to stay with, so he stayed with the Salvation Army,” Natalie said. “We saw that the Salvation Army needed donations for the food back, so that’s what started the fundraising this year.”

After hearing about the need for donations at the Parksville Qualicum Beach food bank, Liam, Ewan and Connor wrote to Thrifty Foods in Parksville, which allowed the brothers to busk in front of the store. After raising hundreds of dollars by early November, Natalie said, they launched an online “virtual kettle” for people to continue to donate to the cause.

To donate online, people can visit www.buskingforchange.ca, or Natalie said people can contact her at nataliedocherty@hotmail.com to donate cash or cheques.

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