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In Sooke, Christmas charities shine for those in need

Many businesses and organizations have stepped up with fund-raising initiatives
Pharmasave Sooke’s Christmas Trees of Wishes is on again to support those in need. You can also get a photo of your child with Santa on Dec. 23 for $10 in support of the Sooke Food Bank. (File - Sooke New Mirror)

An enormous community effort will be required to provide some semblance of comfort to those in need this Christmas due to the number of people struggling just to survive.

Fortunately for those in Sooke, many businesses and organizations have stepped up with fund-raising initiatives to brighten the holiday season for families and individuals.

Pharmasave Sooke is hosting its Christmas Trees of Wishes campaign, with three Christmas trees in the store adorned with paper ornaments detailing what gift a woman or child at Sooke Transition House, seniors at Ayre Manor Lodge, or others in need have requested.

“It’s been so successful that we decided to add another way people can help at this time of year,” said store manager/operator Mohamed Zeid. “We invite people to bring their kids in on Dec. 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to have their picture taken with Santa for a $10 donation, with all proceeds going to the Sooke Food Bank.”

Sooke Hospice Society is setting up a Celebration of Life table at different locations where people can celebrate the life of a special person on the Society’s tree, with the opportunity to make a donation by cash or cheque.

The Celebrate A Life Table will be at the Sooke Pharmasave on Dec. 8. Shoppers Drug Mart on Dec. 9, and Home Hardware on Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Sooke Firefighters annual Santa Run has set a goal to raise $56,000 for the Sooke Food Bank. Decorated trucks will visit neighbourhoods in the community on Dec. 10, starting around 5 p.m., to collect cash-only donations. Firefighters will also be on hand over the next few weekends at Village Food Stores and Western Foods accepting donations.

Cathy’s Corner Cafe will continue its tradition of providing a free turkey dinner to anyone who walks through the door from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec.2o and 21. “We’ve been doing it for many years,” said owner Cathy Gouk. “It’s not just for the many people struggling at this time of the year, but for everyone in the community. It’s always fun, and we’re looking forward to doing it this year without COVID restrictions.”

SEAPARC and the Sooke Harbourside Lions are partners in the Festival of Trees, which raises money for BC Children’s Hospital. Drop by SEAPARC to vote on your favourite tree and make a donation. Visit to make a deonation, or Https:// for more information.

The Victoria Shoebox Project is hosting an event in Sooke to help brighten the lives of women in need during the holiday season. People are encouraged to fill and decorate shoeboxes with around $50 worth of items a woman would enjoy. A gift card to a grocery or drug store or items such as shampoos, conditioners, body wash, deodorant, toothpaste, socks, candy, cosmetics or an accessory like a hat or scarf are encouraged. The event takes place Dec. 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Sooke Community Hall. Those interested in attending should message Deb Schenk through the Victoria Shoebox Project Facebook page.

Bad Dog Brewing Company is celebrating its fifth anniversary by serving breakfast from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 10, with some great draw prizes available for anyone who makes a cash donation to the Sooke Food Bank.

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About the Author: Rick Stiebel

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