From left: Jonah

From left: Jonah

Teens ‘squeeze’ new opportunities during teachers’ strike

Saanich students spent the first few weeks of September volunteering for Disaster Aid Canada's Soap for Hope program

Sam Laramee squeezes one mini shampoo bottle after another and pokes fun at his mundane, repetitive task.

“It’s this or school, and there’s no school,” says the 14-year-old, laughing.

As Laramee awaits word on an end to the teachers’ strike and the beginning of his student life at Reynolds secondary, the teen is using his free time to volunteer with Disaster Aid’s Soap for Hope program, based out of an Esquimalt warehouse.

On this day, four would-be students are repackaging slightly used soap, shampoo and conditioner – donated from 50 hotels across Vancouver Island – to create hygiene kits that will be shipped as far away as Ghana and Croatia, and as close to home as Rock Bay Landing. The current 13-litre shampoo batch is destined for Thailand.

“It makes me feel good that I can help people in other countries just by squeezing shampoo bottles,” says Maya McIntyre, 11.

Maya’s mother, Anne, is in her fourth month as the executive director of Disaster Aid Canada. Anne has recruited Maya six times already, but is also fielding requests from the community for student volunteers.

“We like to have students come in once a month, but during the strike Maya and a few other have come in each week,” Anne says. “And I just had a call for a group of 10 kids to come in, so I’ve booked them a date. It’s a fabulous response.”

Sam’s 16-year-old brother, Jonah Laramee, also at Reynolds, might not have volunteered if it wasn’t for the strike.

“I’ll probably come back even if school starts. It’s a great cause and it’s great work experience for me,” Jonah says.

Other volunteers include Jim Force, president of the Rotary Club of Oak Bay, who stood in the corner, using a manual mixer to mash partial soap bars into a giant vat.

(Photo inset: Jim Force, president of the Rotary Club of Oak Bay, mulches used hotel soap for repurposing, part of Diasaster Aid Canada’s Soap for Hope initiative.)

The mash is melted,  cooled in trays, cut into roughly edged bars, and stamped with the Disaster Aid logo. Edward Norton would be proud.

Products continue to flow in from hotels, and with Global Handwashing Day looming on Oct. 15, the push is one to prepare and distribute soap products, Anne says.

“One of the challenges is letting people know we have these products, as Soap For Hope only recently started supplying local shelters and outreach organizations,” she says.

“Once we get in touch, the demand stays constant.”

The repurposed hygiene kits can also include a hand-knit facecloth, a personal touch made locally by senior volunteers.

As a charity, Disaster Aid’s greatest cost is shipping the goods to those in need. To donate or to learn more about the organization, visit disasteraid.ca or call 250-595-5974.

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

VicPd are asking for the public’s help in finding Camper, a lost pit bull who ran away after their owner’s van was reportedly attacked by a man with a hammer on June 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Edmonton man reportedly smashes van’s windows with hammer while woman and her dog inside

VicPD are asking for help to find Camper, the woman’s dog who ran away during the Friday incident

Red arrow shows the existing warehouse that is home to a variety of specialized equipment used by the Capital Region Emergency Services Telecommunications (CREST). The service provider is looking for a new home that will protect the equipment in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster. (Google Maps)
CREST telecoms look to find a post-seismic facility in Greater Victoria

The move will better protect equipment vital to its 50 emergency service clients across the CRD

A temporary urgent and primary care centre will open in Esquimalt this week, offering residents more health care options in their own community. (Black Press Media file)
Esquimalt’s temporary urgent and primary care centre to open Monday

The Esquimalt Health Unit will house the temporary site, permanent location opening in December

(Black Press Media file photo)
FRESH AND LOCAL: Greater Victoria farm markets ready to greet shoppers

A list of markets on the go this spring and summer, right into fall

A client and a staff member embark on an art project at Oak Bay United Church. (Christine van Reewyk/News Staff)
VIDEO: Oak Bay group of adults with developmental disabilities promotes community inclusivity

Victoria Community Connections moved to Oak Bay late last year

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read