The Duncan Lions Club donated $5,000 to the Stuff the Truck campaign, run by Save-on-Foods and Juice FM, this year to help local food banks. Pictured in front from left is Jeff MacLeod, manager of Duncan’s Save-on-Foods, Juice FM’s Julie Winter and the Lions Club’s Marjorie Wall. In the rear and a number of members of the Lions Club. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

The Duncan Lions Club donated $5,000 to the Stuff the Truck campaign, run by Save-on-Foods and Juice FM, this year to help local food banks. Pictured in front from left is Jeff MacLeod, manager of Duncan’s Save-on-Foods, Juice FM’s Julie Winter and the Lions Club’s Marjorie Wall. In the rear and a number of members of the Lions Club. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Business notes: Stuff the Truck brings in record breaking haul

What’s going on in Cowichan’s business community

This year’s Stuff the Truck campaign, a partnership between Save-On-Foods in Duncan and Juice FM, raised enough money to pay for a record-breaking 528 pallets of food for the region’s food banks this Christmas.

Save-On-Foods manager Jeff MacLeod said staff and volunteers were flabbergasted last year when 189 pallets of food were put together, so all involved were really delighted with this year’s total.

He said he expects this year’s success was largely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The whole community came together to help out those in need this year,” he said.

“It was a great effort by all involved.”

The Duncan Lions Club contributed $5,000 to the Stuff the Truck campaign this year.

The funding from the Duncan Lions Club, which comes from proceeds from its Sassy Lion thrift store, paid for 10 pallets of food for the food banks.

“Last year, we donated $4,000 to the Stuff the Truck campaign, but we are giving more this year because the need is greater in the community,” said Marjorie Wall from the Lions Club.


Lake Cowichan’s Ally Earle is now the youngest owner/broker of a RE/MAX office in Canada west of Manitoba.

Earle, 27, who has worked at the RE/MAX Lake Cowichan office for the three years of her real estate career so far, recently took possession of the office, along with realtor Jennifer Allen, from Sandy Stinson who decided to step back from owning the business.

“I dove deep into a whirlwind experience by purchasing RE/MAX Lake Cowichan right before the pandemic, which was terrifying to say the least,” she said.

“Gratefully, I have also surpassed my personal and career goals for this year thanks to our amazing clients here at RE/MAX as well as our community. Most excitingly, I have become the managing broker at our RE/MAX office. According to the RE/MAX records, I am the youngest owner/broker in western Canada. It’s been a really big learning curve for me and it has all been amazing. I’m very thankful for everything I have and all I have achieved so far.”


The Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary is taking a proactive approach amid concerning COVID-19 case numbers and has temporarily closed the auxiliary-run thrift shop at the corner of Oak and Maple Streets in Chemainus.

There are no cases among volunteers and the wish is to remain COVID-free so the organization has decided to take the step to close, partly because of the situation at the Ladysmith Health Auxiliary Thrift Shop where positive cases were identified.

That hit a little too close to home.

“It’s closing in, the numbers are not going down,” said Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary president Diana Lenihan.

“We could take a chance of continual opening, but you almost have to assume now whoever comes through those doors is a potential [for spreading the virus].”

The closure will remain in effect until Jan. 14, 2021 when the situation will be re-evaluated.


Fields department store in Lake Cowichan is allowing “maskless” shopping for people who are unable to wear a mask before store opening during the month of December.

Maskless shopping is by appointment only and only offered Monday to Friday between 9:15 and 10 a.m.

The shopping will be in 15-minute time slots, with the option of extending it if there isn’t another appointment immediately afterwards.

The time slots will be 9:15 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m.

“It is for one person at a time only, except for households of couples, and there will be strict protocols in place during these times to keep everyone involved safe,” store manager Cheryl Breen said.

“Please only use this service as needed to save the time slots for those who really need it.”

Breen said the store won’t be asking for medical proof that customers can’t wear masks because staff are not legally allowed to do so.

“We are not allowed to have people without masks on in the store during our open hours, so we decided to do these shopping time slots to help those who require it,” she said.

To book an appointment, call 250-749-7795.


Dodd’s Furniture & Mattress will be celebrating “DODD’S 12 DAYS OF KINDNESS!” from Dec. 13-24.

On those days, store owner Gordy Dodd will donate a portion of the net proceeds from select sales to the charity of the customers’ choice.

Marketing manager Brian Adam said that while Dodd’s Furniture & Mattress has stores in Victoria, Campbell River and Nanaimo and none in the Cowichan Valley, shoppers from the Cowichan Valley at those stores can choose to have their donation sent to a charity in the region.

He said the business usually holds a “12 Days of Christmas” sale each year, but decided to change it this year to help charities in recognition of the greater need in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adam said cash donations to charities may also be made in-store at all three Dodd’s Furniture & Mattress locations.

“Dear friends, thank you all for your continued support,” Gordy Dodd said.

“This community has allowed me to give back in ways I never thought possible. The need has never been greater than it is right now. Please be as generous as you can, so that everyone might enjoy the magic and wonder of the holidays.”


Shawnigan Lake’s West Coast Vintage in the Village will host a “COVID-Friendly Visit with Santa” this month with an impressive six-foot Santa Claus replica.

Children and adults can sit in a cozy, comfortable chair and have their photo taken with the Jolly Old Fella, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 12 and Dec. 13.

Donations of food or cash will be gratefully accepted for Nourish Cowichan.


This year, school communities across Vancouver Island are learning to adapt to new social distancing restrictions in response to COVID-19.

PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs, sponsored by Coastal Community Credit Union in Island schools, has met this challenge with innovative solutions.

They have introduced a new virtual learning platform and digital tools that allow students to develop their own businesses and showcase their achievements while maintaining physical boundaries.

With a user-friendly interface, the online platform is regularly updated in response to teacher feedback and helps to ensure continuity of learning in the event of future school closures.

Highly engaging alternatives to the signature community showcase event include videotaped sales pitches, a sales catalogue, digital commercials and virtual pitch and sales events.

“At Coastal Community Credit Union, we are dedicated to helping our communities navigate the challenges of this pandemic,” said Allyson Prescesky, Coastal Community’s senior manager of community and communications.

“The PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs online platform lets young people continue to experience the excitement and reward of business planning while the program’s virtual events bring together teachers, students and families to celebrate their success.”

To find out more about PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs, visit or, or call 1-888-880-0816.

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