What’s in Store: They did give at the office

Sale of pink T-shirts through London Drugs and online at PinkShirtDay.ca <http://PinkShirtDay.ca> has netted some critical coin for almost a dozen organizations, including a Langley group striving to promote self esteem and say goodbye to bullying.

On Feb. 25 of this year, hundreds of thousands of supporters across Canada participated in Pink Shirt Day, and raised a whopping $350,000 for the CKNW Orphan’s Fund, which in turn distributed that money a few days ago in the form of grants to 11 programs, including the Boys and Girls Club of South Coast BC, Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland, Kids Help Phone, and the Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre.

It’s great to watch this campaign, Pink Shirt Day, grow since its inception in 2007. That’s when two Nova Scotia students decided to take action after witnessing a younger student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school.

The students bought 50 pink T-shirts and encouraged schoolmates to wear them and send a powerful message of solidarity to the bully.

CKNW Orphan’s Fund was inspired by that story, and since 2008 has raised $1.2 million for anti-bullying programs through the sales of these shirts. What a cool initiative and what an incredible success story.

Walking year after year for Langley

Speaking of businesses doing a lot for good causes, let me tell you about Langley’s Coast Capital Savings, Aldergrove Credit Union, G&F Financial Group, Canadian Tire, and Original Joe’s.

All of these businesses have kicked in and given back to our community recently, and each deserve accolades for their efforts.

Paula Manhas, branch manager Coast Capital (a division of Western Financial Groups), and her team recently participated in a five-kilometre walk – called the Support the Cause Walk. At the end of last month, the employees held the 11th annual walk and raised a few thousand for fellow Langleyites.

Last year, the branch raised $2,200 for Ishtar Transition Housing Society, and past walks have helped provide bursaries for Brookswood students, as well as blankets for Blankets BC.

Giving to sick kids

Likewise, hats off to employees at G&F Financial, including the team in Willoughby. The credit union presented $29,000 to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation during the televised Miracle Weekend event on May 31.

Throughout May, the staff organized and participated in initiatives including pledge-collections, a slo-pitch tournament, bingo, and 50/50 payday draws, pub nights, a top-chef cooking competition, and participation in Jeans Day – all credited for raising the money.

And it doesn’t end there.

Aldergrove Credit Union, and the parent organization of Aldergrove Financial Group, championed a campaign that raised almost $20,000 in additional coin for the children’s hospital.

This team held a four-week fundraising drive – again running raffles, a pub night, and other initiatives – to raise $19,355, about 1/10th of what the credit union has raised in the way of community donations during the past year.

Restaurant runs food bank campaign

Original Joe’s (OJ’s) Restaurant and Bar, which operates in the Safeway strip mall at the east end of the Langley Bypass, has partnered with a brewery to give back with what’s called their community pint program.

As part of the OJ’s Community Care Fund, the community pint program began June 2 and will carry through until Oct. 5. During that time, 50 cents from each Okanagan Spring or Big Rock pint sold will be given to charities in the participating communities – in particular to the provincial food bank associations, which lists Langley and Cloverdale food banks as recipients.

“Feeding hungry people is the core of OJ’s business, which is why we decided to support local food banks for a second term,” said OJ marketing manager Elena Remoundos. “Food banks see a lot of attention at Christmas time, but often gets overlooked in the summer months, when the need is just as high. We want to ensure those who need help accessing food are able to get it all year long.”

For more information, people can visit the restaurant or go online: www.originaljoes.ca <http://www.originaljoes.ca> .

Revved up about new partnership

Canadian Tire’s George Vallance and his team have partnered with the Industry Training Authority to encourage local teens into a career in the trades.

Working with the local school district, Langley’s Canadian Tire service manager Lorne Geiger is providing tours of their service centre, speeches at career sessions and automotive courses, and participation in informal interviews for students to gain work experience and apprenticeship placements.

“I’ve been a dealer at the store in Langley for the past 17 years, and have been offering apprentice placement to local students for much of that time,” Vallance said.

“I’m proud to be collaborating with the industry training authority to increase knowledge and accessibility for skilled trade career opportunities,” the local store owner elaborated.

Assistant school district superintendent Claire Guy speaks highly of the partnership.

“It’s always wonderful when businesses can partner up with school districts to provide learning opportunities for students,” Guy said.

“Students get great hands-on skills training, and everyone benefits,” the assistant super added, commenting on the added bonus of student work opportunities.

“It is so important for post-secondary students to be made aware of the career opportunities available within the skilled trades,” said Dal Dhatt, the apprenticeship advisor in the South Fraser region.

“Canadian Tire’s partnership with ITA will raise awareness among youth, and most important, will help create the connections necessary to get their careers started.”

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