Black Press’ Pennies for Presents fundraiser gathered a total of $13,615.13 this year.
Now in its 15th year, the campaign, through donations from the Greater Victoria community, is able to make significant contributions to four local charities.
In one of the largest donations made this year, the South Vancouver Island Classics’ Soccer Association Orcas gave $600 – directing the funds towards NEED2, an organization that provides suicide prevention, education and support to young people.
“It’s so rare that we get anything more than someone’s piggy bank full of coins, for the Orcas soccer club to donate $600 was an unbelievable contribution,” said Pennies organizer Kyle Slavin.
“The team got together and everybody donated what they could, we agreed that NEED2 is a charity that could use the money,” said club member Derek Graham.
The group of over-50-year-old soccer players made the donation in memory of team mate and friend Paddy Quaite, who died from suicide just before Christmas.
“We felt good about being able to do something,” said Graham. Quaite’s family supported the idea of making a donation earmarked for the suicide prevention group.
“He was a great guy, he would do anything for anybody. He was intelligent, family was everything to him,” said Tony Olivier, a long-time friend of Quaite and captain of the Orcas.
“Anything that can help a kid get through a challenging time in life is a great thing,” Olivier said of NEED2. “From my understanding it gives them an opportunity to communicate in a manner that they might not otherwise do. If this provides the opportunity for one or two kids to get through a difficult time in their life – unlike our buddy – that would be great.”
Six schools also contributed to the campaign, coming up with $2,000. “One school alone raised more than half that,” said Slavin. The students at Dunsmuir middle school in Colwood helped their school wins $500 for its library with a donation of $1,026.56.
This year’s Pennies for Presents recipients include the Mary Manning Centre, Threshold Housing Society, Victoria READ Society, the Young Parents Support Network and NEED2. The initiative collected more than $12,000 in Greater Victoria last year and more than $600,000 since it’s inception.
Our thanks to everyone who chipped in by donating their loose change for local people in need.