Bottle drive fundraiser and chili sale

Jane Reddington

Sounder Staff

Tuesday, January 24 2017

I knew my son’s Grade 6/7 class was raising money for their end of the year school trip and that the bottle drive was coming. Our whole family volunteered to help, and my son set the bar high by declaring he’d volunteer for the whole day from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. I said I would help too. My son and his dad baked in the morning so there would be some sweet stuff for people to enjoy, and the children had made apple cake in the Commons kitchen on the Friday before. They went ahead first, and when I showed up for my shift at the reception desk I was impressed.

Sterling, a classmate of my son’s, greeted me with a survey. “Did I shop locally, did I use cloth bags, did I support a petition against plastic bags?” The kids were fired up. There were logos to vote on for the printing of the next cloth bag, which will have all the names of the donors who had supported the initiative with a $25 donation, printed on the side of the bag.

Cloth bags were for sale for $6. Chili, hot beverages and refreshments were by donation. As I sat at the desk with my partners, the lovely folks of Gabriola rolled in after dropping their bottles at the undercover area of the school. The room was buzzing.

I thought about how great it was that there were parents outside, doing the grim job of sorting all the bottles, volunteering to support their children. There were children sorting too, and the folks from GIRO were there in a big way. All neighbours helping neighbours, which seems to be a common theme in the stories I’m writing this year.

The chili was a huge success, the bag sales were through the roof and the community came out in droves to support the 11- and 12-year-olds who had spent months preparing for the drive, learning about recycling and reusing, and were now teaching the community all they had learned as young stewards of the environment.

When my shift was over, I thought about our community, how we are so lucky to live on this island that really looks after its own. The generosity was remarkable, the number of people who had two bowls of chili surprising, and the parents who washed dishes in the kitchen, behind the scenes, were a thing to behold.

So really, I’d just like to say thank you for coming out to support our kids and to Catherine Gilroy, their teacher, a huge round of applause for her passion and dedication, showing us all how one person really can make a difference to the lives of many. It was a good day to be a Gabriolan.