Jason Farrugia and Leanne Michelin of Island Savings beside the tree that has the snowflakes with items printed on them or families for the community to support. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Jason Farrugia and Leanne Michelin of Island Savings beside the tree that has the snowflakes with items printed on them or families for the community to support. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Snowflake removal takes on a new meaning

Campaign all about helping the less fortunate in 6-19 age range

Removing snowflakes usually involves heavy labour. In this case, it doesn’t and can actually be a labour of love.

Island Savings in Chemainus has snowflakes on its Christmas tree in the lobby. The snowflakes contain items requested from families that can’t have an amazing Christmas without a little support.

That’s where the generous community that always rises to a cause can make an impact. Getting rid of that snow and bringing joy to kids who are less fortunate is as simple as grabbing a snowflake from the tree and fulfilling the need or dropping off the requested item under the tree.

Paul McGregor, the manager of the 49th Parallel Grocery store in Chemainus, has even said items can be dropped off there and he’ll take them over to Island Savings.

It all began with a pitch from Island Savings’ consolidated Chemainus operation to the Ladysmith Resource Centre Association to see what assistance could be provided. Leanne Michelin started the ball rolling through Island Savings manager Jason Farrugia.

“This is Leanne’s idea this year,” said Farrugia. “She came to me about a month ago, ‘what can we do to support teenagers?’”

Farrugia then contacted Rick Rake at the LRCA to make sure it aligned with the needs community.

“We were thinking of putting gift suggestions as ornaments so that people can take them and hopefully bring back items that were needed,” Farrugia wrote at the time to Rake. “We are hoping to cover off the kids 13-18 as they seem to get left out.”

After asking the question if the resource centre had such a need, Rake turned it over to LRCA receptionist Barb Champagne and in turn to Lacey Redding, the team lead for family and youth services, and the answer was a resounding ‘yes.’

The age range of 6-19 fit perfectly with Redding’s mandate, not only for Christmas, but in all areas of the community throughout the year.

The project got underway with the start of the countdown to Christmas and has been going full bore ever since, but still in need of some support.

“We have all this space we’re not using, we’d love to be the collection area for that,” Farrugia recalled was his message once the connection was made to LRCA.

“Each of the snowflakes on the tree is a different family and each family has a different need. All we’re asking from the community is to come in and support it and grab a couple of flakes off the tree.”

The program continues into next week’s cut-off of Tuesday, Dec. 20.

Island Savings recently raised about $700 from pictures with Santa and a hot dog sale plus money put in by the branch for a total of $1,000 available.

“Whatever doesn’t get purchased, they’ll go out and buy these items for the kids,” pointed out Farrugia.

Island Savings has also previously done a fundraiser for the Harvest House food bank and the whole tree was covered with snowflakes at first for this fundraiser, but are quickly disappearing.

“Because we service both communities, we thought we’d reach out to Ladysmith,” said Farrugia of the LRCA connection.

“This is the first year we’ve done it. We’re pretty happy about it so far.”

Items are also still being dropped off for Harvest House and “we’re happy to be the outlet for that,” Farrugia added.

And contributions to Island Savings’ trademark Full Cupboard campaign are always welcomed.

“We just want everyone to enjoy their holiday time,” confided Farrugia.


@chemainusnews
don.bodger@chemainusvalleycourier.ca

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The tree inside Island Savings where manager Jason Farrugia and Leanne Michelin invite people to remove a snowflake. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The tree inside Island Savings where manager Jason Farrugia and Leanne Michelin invite people to remove a snowflake. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Island Savings employees gather around the tree and the donation collection area in the building. From left: Leanne Michelin, Snehal Gaikwad, Jason Farrugia, Tina McGregor and Christa Howard. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Island Savings employees gather around the tree and the donation collection area in the building. From left: Leanne Michelin, Snehal Gaikwad, Jason Farrugia, Tina McGregor and Christa Howard. (Photo by Don Bodger)

There’s always opportunities to make donations inside Island Savings with bins and a matching campaign to help the less fortunate from the community. From left: Christa Howard, Tina McGregor, Leanne Michelin and Jason Farrugia. (Photo by Don Bodger)

There’s always opportunities to make donations inside Island Savings with bins and a matching campaign to help the less fortunate from the community. From left: Christa Howard, Tina McGregor, Leanne Michelin and Jason Farrugia. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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