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Free plumbing for those in need; giving the gift of sports

For two days, six plumbers with Rather Be Plumbing will take on calls for free for those in need, while the Victoria Cool Aid Society has once again partnered with King’s Auto Sales to offer a free car to someone deserving

Homeowners who can’t afford a plumber will get an early Christmas present.

Rather Be Plumbing is offering to cover the cost of plumbing services for customers in financial need, if homeowners pay for materials required to complete the job. For two days — Dec. 21 and 22 — six plumbers with the company will take on the calls. Depending on how complex the job is, each plumber can do an average of five calls daily.

This is the fourth year the company, founded by Jarod Hughes, has offered the service, which was ­suspended for two years by the pandemic.

“It’s my way of giving back to the community,” said Hughes, who pays his employees for the work.

Some who have used the service in the past had been forced to choose between paying a plumbing bill and buying Christmas presents for their children. Others are on fixed incomes or disabled and can’t afford to pay for plumbing services.

“It helps people afford to buy presents for their kids, or help them stay in their homes,” said Hughes.

One of the past recipients was Saanich resident Sharon Allan, who runs a daycare from her home.

In 2019, her toilet backed up and her house was flooded. It was fixed, but she had to suspend her ­business for two months while the repairs to her basement were underway.

Shortly after the work was completed, her sink started giving her grief, forcing Allan and her six children to use the bathtub to brush their teeth.

“I thought: ‘Oh no, not another thing,’ ” says Allan, who did not have any income for the two months her basement was being repaired.

When Rather Be Plumbing fixed her sink for free, it was a “huge weight” off her shoulders, she said.

“It meant I was able to buy the kids presents for Christmas.”

• For more information, or to book, call (or text) ­250-589-8555 or go to ratherbeplumbing.com.

Know someone in need who could use a free car?

For the third consecutive year, the Victoria Cool Aid Society has partnered with King’s Auto Sales to give a car, insurance, repairs and a warranty to someone in need.

The recipient will receive a 2012 Chrysler 200, three months of free insurance from Maxxam Insurance, one year of free maintenance from Affordable Auto Repair and a two-year warranty from Lubrico Warranties.

“I actually feel like we are the ones who benefit from this program,” said David King, owner of King’s Auto Sales. “There is no greater gift than making life easier for someone who really needs it.”

Last year’s recipient was a single mother who had escaped intimate partner violence and was starting life over in the capital region.

She was nominated by her daughter, who described her as “the most selfless, caring, strong, and determined woman” she has ever known.

Nominations are open until Dec. 15, with the winner to be announced Dec. 21.

• To nominate someone, go to coolaid.org/ways-to-help/car-giveaway.

Sweet concert on Dec. 17

Victoria’s Sweet Soul Choir is holding a fundraising concert at the First Metropolitan Church on Dec. 17.

The choir, which has been singing Motown, R&B and soul music for more than 20 years, will perform Christmas favourites, with lots of soul, with proceeds to Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Tickers are $21.94, or free for children 10 and under. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17 at the church, 932 Balmoral Rd.

Tickets can be purchased online at sweetsoulchoir.tickit.ca/events/17087, Munro’s Books on Government Street, Niche Grocerant in Broadmead Village, Tanner’s Books in Sidney, Sooke Pharmasave and Christian Book and Music.

St. Luke’s night of light

St. Luke Cedar Hill is opening its doors for its Longest Night Service, which it calls a service of light in the midst of darkness, on Sunday, Dec. 18.

The service offers a quiet, contemplative time of remembrance and hope in the busy Christmas ­season, especially for those who find the holiday ­season ­difficult. It’s billed as a simpler way to approach ­Christmas, without all the glitter and commercialism.

It may also be helpful for those who have ­experienced a recent loss or are dealing with changes in their lives.

Participants can light a candle for hope and remembrance of a person who was special in their lives.

The service will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18 in St. Luke’s Church, at the corner of Cedar Hill Cross Road and Cedar Hill Road. (Enter the parking lot off Cedar Hill Cross Road.)

• For more information, call 250-477-6741 or go to stlukesvictoria.ca/events.

Giving the gift of sports

Help more kids experience the joy of sports with a donation to the Give the Gift of Sport fundraising ­campaign, now until Jan. 6.

This is the 11th year of the campaign, launched by KidSport and staff at Sport B.C. to help families in need to register their children in organized sports.

“We know participation in sport can help kids be healthier, but it can also improve their performance in school and aid their social development,” said Rob ­Newman, president and CEO of Sport B.C. “In essence, sport can provide our children with a head start on life. At KidSport we believe every child deserves that chance.”

KidSport is a national entity with 11 provincial/­territorial chapters and more than 160 community-based chapters across Canada. Last year, chapters in B.C. distributed more than $1.3 million to help 4,164 kids in 132 communities across the province.

An average donation of $300 can provide one child with a full season of sport — a gift that will last well beyond the holidays.

• For more information, or to donate, go to KidSport.ca/GiftofSport.

Holiday treats for a cause

The Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside is once again selling holiday treats — Christmas cakes, ­chocolate bark or brandy ball truffles — to fund its initiatives, with pick-up or delivery available.

Buy them for yourself or guests or to bring some holiday cheer to a senior.

Proceeds from sales go toward Rotary initiatives in the community. In the past six years, Rotary Club of Victoria- Harbourside has donated more than $760,000 to worthwhile causes and programs.

Fruit cakes are $35, chocolate bark $20 and a box of six truffles is $15. Maximum Express will deliver the treats, or you can pick them up at Serenity Home Care, #2-435 Simcoe St. (James Bay Square).

• To order, go to harboursidestore.ca.

Dodd’s dinners in 3 cities

Gordy Dodd’s annual Christmas dinners, a 24-year ­holiday tradition, return this year in Victoria, Nanaimo and Campbell River.

The dinners, with turkey and all the fixings, have become a welcome seasonal meal for the community’s vulnerable population.

The dinners take place:

• Campbell River — 5 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Salvation Army Centre of Hope, 1381 Cedar St.

• Nanaimo — 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 100 Chapel St.

• Victoria — 5 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at Our Place, 919 Pandora Ave.

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