Stained glass ‘Hearts for the Homeless’ hang in the window of Smoke ‘N Water Restaurant in Nanoose Bay. Layne Collinson’s annual fundraiser runs until the end of February, and raises money for Manna Homeless Society. (Emily Vance photo)

Hearts for the Homeless campaign begins in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Money raised for Manna Homeless Society

Layne Collinson has a big heart for helping people – and she’s turned the love in her heart into hundreds of stained glass hearts of all sizes.

“I’m addicted to hearts! I’ve got over 1,000 designs now,” said Collinson with a laugh.

Despite having recently undergone surgery, Collinson is going ahead with her annual ‘Hearts for the Homeless’ fundraiser for its seventh year.

The campaign sees her design, create, hang and sell stained glass hearts of varying shapes, sizes, colours and designs in businesses around Parksville Qualicum Beach, all to raise money for Manna Homeless Society.

“My addiction, I turn into a positive for other people. It’s just good. I think everybody should give back. As my cousin used to say – everybody should give back so it hurts a little bit,” said Collinson.

READ MORE: How Parksville’s St. Anne’s became a place homeless people would actually go

She’s passionate about the work that the organization does to help those experiencing homelessness in the PQB area.

“They’re out there every week, you know, handing out tarps, and warm clothing, and shoes. They even give a little bit of medical if they have the hands-on people, and you know try and help the people,” said Collinson.

“I keep stressing to the people who don’t think this is a worthy cause – nobody decided when they were 10 years old ‘I want to be a drug addict.’ Nobody asked for the mental issues they have and things like that. Nobody wanted that. For us to turn our back on these people – it’s beyond belief, really.”

This year, she’s been working with Snuneymuxw First Nation member Noel Brown (Yutsatsa) to create a line of hearts inspired by Coast Salish artwork.

She hopes to partner with more Indigenous groups in the future.

As for Collinson’s history with stained glass, she’s been working with the medium since she was in art college 42 years ago. She’s worked on the majority of the windows at both French Creek churches, the Catholic Church of the Ascension and the St. Columba Presbyterian Church.

READ MORE: Have a heart for a cause in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Each heart takes about an hour to make, and the prices range from $7 to just under $100. There are big hearts, small hearts, medium hearts of all colours of the rainbow with varying degrees of intricacy. The sales of the hearts are ongoing until the end of February.

The hearts are on display at Smoke ‘N Water Restaurant and three places in Qualicum Beach: Qualicum Beach Art Supply & Gallery, Sea Thrift Boutique in Fireside Books and Arbutus Fashions. Starting Jan. 20, they’ll be going up at Blue Poppy in Nanaimo as well.

The campaign also features an annual fundraiser event, complete with a 50/50 draw, live music and drink specials, and an option to order dinner at the restaurant. Collinson says that the event has been a hit in the past.

This year’s event will take place at 6 p.m. on Jan. 23 at Smoke ‘N Water Restaurant at 1600 Stroulger Rd. #1 in Nanoose Bay.

Throughout January, there’s an opportunity for visitors to Smoke ‘N Water to enter a raffle for one of the more intricate hearts that hangs above the bar.

The raffle will be drawn at the Jan. 23 event, and then another one will follow that will be drawn at the end of February.

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