The ladies of the Campbell River Altrusa Club keep themselves very, very busy.
But between the various fundraising efforts they put on to support multiple local charities, non-profits and initiatives, the 25 dozen healthy muffins they bake each week for local kids to have at various summer camps and all of their other volunteer work in the community, they still find time to drop in to Robron Centre and read to the kids in the city’s Rec and Read summer program.
And this week, on the last day of this year’s camp, the staff who work with those kids had a little surprise for the Altrusa ladies when they showed up to read: flowers, thank-you cards and a local newspaper reporter.
“They’ve been supporting this program for 10 years,” says city programmer Kara Shirley, “and we just wanted to say thank you. They do so much to help us make programs like this happen.”
For this particular program, for example, they pay for all the food, Shirley says. That’s $3,000 worth of breakfast, lunch and healthy snacks.
The program is run in partnership with the Campbell River School District, which provides the teachers for the five-week summer camp program.
The “Read” aspect of the Rec and Read program, Shirley says, is extremely important, and the Altrusa ladies help with that, as well. And not just by dropping in for story time.
“Part of the reason this program is so important is that some of these children would lose their reading level over the summer without it,” Shirley says. “We need to keep our community’s kids reading over the summer, and things like this really help with that. Thankfully, these ladies also donate a huge number of books to us – enough that each kid also gets to pick two to keep and take home.”
The “Rec” aspect of the program not only involves the use of the Robron Centre’s gymnasium and fields, it also includes field trips to various city facilities like the splash park at Willow Point Park, Centennial Pool, down to Miracle Beach, tours of the fire hall and hopping on the ferry to spend some time over on Quadra Island.
“We even got to go to Boston Pizza and the kids went in the back and got to learn how to make their own pizza and got a tour of the coast guard boat,” Shirley says.
Barb McLeod with the Altrusa Club says the group is more than happy to help support such a great program.
“We love doing things like this in our community,” McLeod says. “But we couldn’t do it without the generous support of the community through our various fundraisers.”
Speaking of fundraisers, the group is starting to get the community ready to welcome gardener Brian Minter to town this Oct. 19 for what they are calling Garden Expo.
Anyone interested in more information on that event or any other Altrusa fundraiser or event should contact McLeod by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 250-286-3422.