Local businesses took part in the Christmas Blessing Challenge on Friday by buying out a theatre at SilverCity so 175 kids and their parents could watch “Frozen 2” for free.
The challenge was created four years ago after RE/MAX Alliance and Victoria Homes realtor Alex Burns and local philanthropist Kelcy Snyckers were inspired by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which raised money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The Christmas Blessing Challenge encourages local businesses, pastors and community leaders to participate in random acts of kindness and lend a hand over the holidays. The participants then post to social media and challenge others to make a difference too.
This year, the challenge kicked off on Dec. 17 when Burns, Victoria Police Department Chief Del Manak and Dodd’s Furniture owner Gordie Dodd covered the cost of morning orders at the Tim Hortons location on Blanshard Street and Hillside Avenue.
On Dec. 27, 40 RE/MAX Alliance realtors and several other community sponsors joined forces to cover the cost of the 11:30 a.m. screening of “Frozen 2” at the cinema in Saanich so kids with Extreme Outreach – a local non-profit that works to remove barriers caused by poverty and break the cycle of homelessness and addiction – could watch the movie.
The film was chosen to commemorate Chloe and Aubrey Berry, who were killed by their father in Oak Bay on Christmas Day in 2017. Suzanna Morin, the girls’ nanny of three years and Burns’ cousin, told him that “Frozen” had been the girls’ favourite film.
“We felt it appropriate to approach some businessmen and women in the city and plan this in their honour. We are thankful to the sponsors and realtors … who have made this possible,” Burns said. “It went really well.”
He noted that local actors were in attendance dressed as Anna and Elsa so that the kids could take photos with the princesses.
Various other events have taken place throughout the region and participants paid it forward by purchasing groceries coffee, gas and more for members of the community. Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes and legislature chaplain Jason Goertzen were among those who participated and then took to social media to encourage others to do the same.