New School Bus gets signage from crafter's donation

Credit: Kristi Dobson
Julie Spencer, Darlene Grears and Tracey Anderson, along with children from Kiwanis Hilton Children's Centre, appreciate the new decals on the school bus.
Kristi Dobson

Without donations from the community, many non-profit organizations would struggle to provide their services and uphold regular maintenance. That is why the Kiwanis Hilton Children’s Centre recently thanked the Work of Heart Christmas Craft Fair for its generous donation.

The craft fair, a long-standing event hosting its 22nd market this year, raises money every year though raffle tickets on a basket filled with donations from all of the vendors. Every year, the crafters choose a local charity to donate the funds, including the SPCA and the Alberni Valley Search and Rescue in the past. This year, the recipient was the Kiwanis Hilton Childcare Centre, and staff earmarked the money to pay for signage and decals on their new school bus.

The old bus was having mechanical issues and was in necessary need of replacement, a task accomplished through a group effort of fundraising earlier this year. Staff and volunteers sold raffle tickets for weeks and they had assistance from BC Gaming, as well as the community’s contributions.

The new bus has made a noticeable difference to the Centre’s programs. The children have been able to take part in more field trips and none have been cancelled because of a breakdown. In the summer, they travelled to the beaches and parks in Parksville and the seawall and Jumpin’ Jiminy’s in Nanaimo.

“They now have a lot of chances to get out,” said Julie Spencer, the Centre’s director. “We try to ensure that kids in childcare in the summer have opportunities for the same summer experiences as other kids.”

The bus also transports children of working parents to and from school, which provides peace of mind, Julie said.

Without taking much time off, the staff of the Centre are getting ready for their next fundraiser. The annual Spooktacular takes place this Friday night from 6pm to 8pm and funds raised will go towards their many programs. Open to the community, the event offers prizes for all activities, treats, a silent auction, and raffle tickets for baskets of products.

“We started it because it was one of the few events in recent years for preschoolers,” Julie said. It’s family-friendly and good for toddlers to elementary school aged kids. They will be able to go around to different stations to trick-or-treat, but we will also provide a few healthy items.”

The fundraiser has been made possible by donations from local businesses and volunteers from the ADSS Cheerleading team, students from North Island College’s ECE program and staff from the Bread of Life.

After that, the Work of Heart Craft will be raising funds and selling hand-crafted items at the Train Station from Nov. 11-13. About 15 vendors, including two new ones, will be on hand for the weekend, and free coffee and goodies will be available.