The Duncan Knights of Columbus and the Duncan Lions are partnering to fundraise for 100 wheelchairs for Ukraine. (Black Press Media files)

The Duncan Knights of Columbus and the Duncan Lions are partnering to fundraise for 100 wheelchairs for Ukraine. (Black Press Media files)

Coming up in Cowichan: Wheelchair fundraiser, oak celebration, grant open, racism presentation

A look at some of what’s coming to the Cowichan community

The Duncan Knights of Columbus and Duncan Lions Club have initiated the co-sponsorship of a fundraiser named “100 Wheelchairs for Ukraine”.

The goal is to raise $20,000 by the end of June to send 100 wheelchairs into Ukraine, to help those who have been injured in the fighting, and those who have lost all their possessions including mobility aids.

“Donations of any amount will go a long way to help,” said project chairman Michael Thorpe.

The Canadian Wheelchair Foundation, a registered charity and partner of the Knights of Columbus is able to purchase and deliver a quality wheelchair to an individual in Ukraine at a cost of only $195.

Those who sponsor a wheelchair ($195) will receive a folder containing a certificate of participation and a picture of the recipient. Donations over $3 will receive a charitable tax receipt.

Monthly donations can also be set up until the full $195 is covered.

Donations can be made either using E-transfer to, via the online fundraiser,, or by cheque (made out to Canadian Wheelchair Foundation) and dropped off at Sassy Lion Thrift Store, 164 Kenneth St., Duncan, B.C., V9L 1N4. Please write “100 Wheelchairs for Ukraine” on the envelope. The project Facebook page is at

The plan is to complete the goal of the project at a special event on June 18 at St. Edward’s Parish Hall, 2085 Maple Bay Rd., Duncan. Vendors are welcome to contact the committee.

Further questions about the fundraiser can be sent to


On Wednesday, June 8 members of the Somenos Women’s Institute will join WI members across South Vancouver Island District to celebrate the unveiling of the plaque marking the British or “Coronation” oak, planted in 2008 in Duncan’s McAdam Park, to initiate the celebrations of 100 Years of the Women’s Institutes in British Columbia.

The tree, known as a “Coronation” oak was a seedling of a British oak, sent out from Windsor Great Park, England and planted in 1937 to commemorate the Coronation of King George VI. The original seedling is now a magnificent tree in Slocan, British Columbia and Slocan Women’s Institute members who have cared for it these many years supplied the Somenos group with seedlings from it. Those seedlings are now tree to be celebrated.

In addition to unveiling the plaque for this tree, the group will be celebrating 125 years of the Women’s Institutes in Canada by donating a Brandywine maple tree to McAdam Park. The ceremony will begin at 11:15 a.m.


Literacy Now Cowichan has opened up nominations for the second annual literacy grant fund to honour the community service and educational legacy of Barb de Groot.

The Barb de Groot Grant for promoting literacy in the Cowichan Valley is a yearly grant of $500, awarded to any individual who upholds de Groot’s legacy of passionate advocacy for literacy and the rights of every person to a full, rich, and diverse education. It will be used to support the grant recipient’s work in providing literacy support to others.

Last year’s inaugural winner was Graham Cannon, of Pivot Point Family Growth Centre. He is the lead instructor for a class of boys (aged nine to 12 years old) all living with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

“We are hoping to see lots of new nominations this year,” said Literacy Now Cowichan executive director Jessica Lewinski, “as we know that the Valley is overflowing with dedicated, passionate, and innovative educators of all kinds.”

Examples of eligible candidates include teachers, pre-school operators, outreach workers and those working to provide a service or initiative which supports literacy, regardless of age or the specific challenges. Nominations will be accepted by application from June 1 until June 20, and will be awarded by the Literacy Now Cowichan board of directors.

For more information or to request an application for nomination, email


The Cowichan Intercultural Society has just completed the study A Closer Look: Racism and Marginalization in Cowichan, and are now hosting an online presentation to share the results on Thursday, June 2 at 5:30 p.m.

The study is a first for Cowichan, funded by Canadian Heritage and undertaken by Western University. The presenter is Maria Besselink, MSc.

This report is presented as a public resource to open conversations and inform community initiatives. Individuals and organizations are free to consider if/how the data can inform their work to erase discrimination and build multicultural understanding.

It is hoped that A Closer Look: Racism and Marginalization in Cowichan will be instrumental in planning initiatives that build a multicultural, welcoming Cowichan.

The event is free, but those interested are asked to register online at Eventbrite.