The Ballenas Interact Club’s weekly meeting was buzzing with excitement as members filled brightly decorated shoeboxes with games, puzzles, and toys.
The completed boxes will be distributed through the “Operation Christmas Child” program, an initiative of Samaritan’s Purse Canada, an organization that has been doing relief and development work around the world since 1973.
The Club plans to spread Christmas cheer locally as well, working with the Ballenas Craft Club to design Christmas cards that will be distributed to shut-in seniors during the festive season.
2021-22 Ballenas Interact Co-Presidents, Madison Dabbs and Maddy Jenkins are excited about the enthusiasm and commitment from students this year, focusing on both local and international initiatives. “One of our first local projects was our annual collection of non-perishable food items, unused toiletries, and warm clothing for Halloween for Homelessness. Many people in our city battle homelessness and cannot afford the amenities we take for granted; this initiative ensures warmth and comfort through the cold fall and winter season.”
One of the main Interact fundraisers is through the collection of bottles at the school, with all the money going toward projects and support to the community. In addition to being a great fundraiser, this initiative is also part of the Zero Waste Movement at the school, through which the Club received a grant of $500 and reduced landfill waste by 70%!
Other creative fundraisers this year have included a school chess tournament and the sale of scrunchies in support of the Every Child Matters movement.
Seeing an opportunity to join forces with a larger community initiative, Interact members have allocated some of their bottle drive revenue in support of the Oceanside “Track of Dreams,” a new six-lane all-weather running track which will be located at Ballenas Secondary School. Much more than a school track, this is a major construction project that will support not only athletes, but people of all ages and abilities in developing a healthy lifestyle in a safe and accessible environment.
Jenkins and Dabbs note: “With a fundraising goal of $1.5 million, we realize that our efforts are a small part of the overall fundraising goal, but we are committed to doing our bit to make it happen.”
The Rotary Club of Parksville is proud to have sponsored the Ballenas Interact Club in 2014. Since then, its members have exhibited extraordinary leadership and dedication to making a difference in our local community and internationally.
The photo below shows Parksville Rotary President Bill Rawlins making the Club’s annual donation in the amount of $1000 to Co-Presidents Maddy (L) and Madison. As for the rest of the funds raised over the year, Interact is on its own and exceeding expectations!