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Posted by on Oct 6, 2011 in Events | 0 comments

SPCA BBQ – Grilling Dogs for the Dogs

SPCA BBQ – Grilling Dogs for the Dogs

On Sunday September 25th, the Charity Guys headed down to the newly-opened Bosley’s on Yates. The grand opening provided some great deals on pet food and pet supplies – and also a great opportunity to raise funds and awareness for the SPCA. Working together with both Bosley’s on Yates and the SPCA, the Charity Guys were able to man the BBQ for the afternoon and sell wonderful hot dogs and hamburgers to passer-bys. Feedback on the culinary experience was impeccable.

When all was said and done, almost $300 had been raised to help care for lost or unwanted pets. A great day and a great cause – you can’t beat that.

-Charity Guys

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Posted by on Oct 6, 2011 in Events, News | 0 comments

Charity Runs

On Sunday September 18th, Darr and Aidan meandered down to Mile Zero along Dallas Road to take place in the annual Terry Fox Run. Funds raised from the event benefit cancer research. The annual run has been going on for many years now and helps keep Terry’s name alive. This year’s run was even more special, as Terry’s mother recently passed away. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised throughout the years from this special event.

More recently, on Sunday October 2nd, Kael and Aidan took part in the CIBC Run for the Cure to raise awareness around breast cancer. Pink clothing and attire was abound, and money was raised to fight this terrible disease. Oh… and a 5k run followed by cookies and fruit took place as well :)

-Charity Guys

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Posted by on Sep 23, 2011 in Events | 1 comment

Sundaes on Thursday

Sundaes on Thursday

The Charity Guys have talked about serving desserts at Our Place for months now, and last Thursday, true to Charity Guy spirit, we made it happen! Market on Millstream was generous enough to sell us the supplies we needed at cost. We came prepared with buckets of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream as well as all the fixings including sprinkles, smarties, graham crumbs and whipped cream! As we set up the station a line was already beginning to form! The friendly folks at Our Place encouraged us with comments and words of excitement for the forthcoming treats. The staff was extremely helpful at making sure we had all the necessary serving tools and utensils. At 3:30 we were ready to rock! We soon got the hang of it and were serving up made-to-order sundaes in no time with a Charity Guy (and honorary Charity Girl) at each station. It was a huge success and we served every last drop of ice cream with excited patrons coming back for seconds, and even thirds.

Thanks everyone at Our Place. As usual we met a lot of great people, had interesting conversations and had some fun.

– CG

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Posted by on Aug 3, 2011 in Events | 6 comments

Dinner with a Stranger – Second Edition

The second edition of our “Dinner With A Stranger” project features a homeless man by the name of Dwayne. He’s 50 years old, and an ex-Hell’s Angel’s member from Toronto.

Usually, when you hear the words “Hell’s Angels,” you think of the bravado, the showmanship, and the violence that is associated with the name, but not in this particular case — not even close. Instead, we found a kind man who was not only a fascinating dinner companion, but a friend with a powerful message.

On 29 July 2011, Charity Guys members Darragh Grove-White, Ira Willey, and Derek Lau were fortunate enough to get to know this “stranger” who is probably unlike any poverty stricken man we’ve ever encountered in Victoria. To be honest, Dwayne himself doesn’t even realize how special he is.

At the early age of 15, Dwayne was already involved in ruthless, organized crime. Not many of us can imagine what it’s like to experience the destruction that goes along with drug trade, extortion, and gun-running, but Dwayne knew first-hand.

“It was hard. But they protected me,” said Dwayne of his family and fellow gang members. At the time, violence was all that he knew and Dwayne spent the next 18 years of his life in and out of prison for various crimes, all in which he knew were wrong. Not surprisingly, drug addiction played a role. But eventually, Dwayne was able to find answers in religion. “I found God. He’s the reason why I’m here right now, and he’s touching all of us right here at this table,” said Dwayne. “I don’t care if you guys believe in him or not — but I do. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here right now. I’d probably be dead.”

To be honest, Dwayne was just a regular guy that was thrown into an extremely unfavourable situation, but he believes that after 17 years of living on and off the streets, he is now a better man — and he has a loving wife of three years to prove it.

But the most powerful message Dwayne had for us?

“I feel safe with you guys. The streets? They’ll eat you up sometimes,” said Dwayne. “But what made my day wasn’t the fact that you took me out for dinner, it was the fact that you came up to me and said ‘Hi. How are you?’ That’s when I felt safe.”

We packed up the leftovers of our dinner and gave them to Dwayne. He thanked us. But as he was leaving, he took the box of leftovers and gave it to a homeless woman that just so happened to pass by us.

Usually the greatest of messages are disguised in simplicity. And sometimes, the simplest of gestures send the greatest message.

-Charity Guys

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Posted by on Jul 23, 2011 in Events | 1 comment

Dinner with a Stranger

On Friday, July 22nd around 7pm, Charity Guys Justin Robertson, Aidan Henry and Darragh Grove-White began a special project called “Dinner With A Stranger” where we take out a person who is experiencing poverty first hand for dinner and hear their story. The goal behind it is to shed light on the stigma associated with homelessness, mental illness and poverty in Victoria. We said that if this project only changes one person’s perspective and elicits more compassion, then in our world it was a success. And it was; we gained a lot of insight.

We were incredibly fortunate to have encountered “Christopher”, a 34-year-old living on the streets for nearly 20 years. Christopher isn’t a drug addict, he doesn’t have a mental illness, but he does have a very interesting story. Christopher lived in Toronto and ran away when he was 14 from home. His father died of an aneurism and within a very short period of time, a number of other close family members died of unrelated causes. His mother became unstable and he had nowhere else to go and no other family, so he ran away.

Christopher has been across the country by hitch hiking many times and had some great stories to tell us, some funny, some pretty scary. He credits his beautiful, good-natured dog Sephera for staying out of trouble because she reminds him regularly with her wagging-tail of affection that she cares about him and that he is counted on. He points out that “If I go to jail, no one will be there to take care of her- she counts on me… She and I are going to be together until one of us dies”. He got her when she was six weeks old; she’s now four and a half.

We asked him what resources he has found most useful around Victoria and he found Cool Aid Society has been very helpful for him. One of the challenges he has is Sephera “hates junkies”, and to avoid unnecessary confrontations with others, Cool Aid Society meets his and her needs because his options are limited, and is not able to go to Our Place. Cool Aid Society offers temporary work contracts if they are available and other services that are regularly utilized and much needed for those living on the streets, including warm clothes and more.

We asked Christopher what his dream was and he said he would love to apprentice with a carpenter. He loves working with his hands and finds it gratifying when he builds. He has done quite a bit in the past but says “it’s hard finding a person willing to take you on as more than just a laborer”. If you know of anyone needing a hard worker in construction, we’d be happy to pass the message along.

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog as much as we enjoyed our dinner with Christopher!

Until next time,
-The Charity Guys

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Posted by on Jun 21, 2011 in Events | 0 comments

Yet Another Garbage Clean-Up

On Saturday June 18th, the Charity Guys once again embarked on a garbage clean-up mission. The destination was the Galloping Goose Trail. Although the weather seemed ugly in the morning, it turned out quite nice by afternoon.

The conversation was interesting as always and the trash bag filled up quickly. By the end, the trail was clean and we all got some exercise. It was yet another successful clean-up operation :)

-Charity Guys

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