For the past three months, the Ohtaki students and their families have been working proficiently to raise money for the town’s exchange trip to Japan in July, 2015. The fundraising season began at the end of June with a hot dog sale in front of Country Grocer, which was a fantastic success. Throughout the summer, the students participating in the exchange went around to local neighbourhoods, as well as camp sites such as Gordon Bay Provincial Park and Lakeview Municipal Park to sell chocolate bars to the campers, who were generous enough to buy them by the hundreds.
Throughout the month of August students raised approximately $1,000. Both Simply Delicious and Purdy’s chocolate bars were sold during the chocolate sales. Another fundraiser that was held in August was a bake sale at Junk in the Trunk, which raised $477 toward the exchange. Another bake sale was held on September 21st, at the last Junk in the Trunk of the year.
After Labour Day weekend, the fundraising moved into more physical work, in the form of the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Centre’s metal drive. On several days throughout the first half of September, the students and their parents banded together to collect metal that was kindly donated by many local businesses and home owners. Four bins were filled over the course of less than two weeks. The metal drives for Ohtaki will be continuing on until the end of September, the bin being located at Beaver Lake Resort, about halfway between Lake Cowichan and Mesachie Lake. As of September 16, the three bins that have been cashed in so far have raised $980 for both the Ohtaki trip, as well as the Chamber of Commerce.
With 10 students participating in the cultural exchange, there are many more fundraisers left to complete in order to raise the sufficient funds of $25,000. The most recent and most successful of these was the bottle drive that was held behind the Visitor Centre on September 13, which raised $1,955.20 towards the trip in only six hours. Although it was by far the dirtiest of the fundraisers, it definitely paid off.
Be sure to be on the lookout for more fundraisers, as there will be many to come, and of a variety of different types, including, but not limited to: sales, more bottles drives, and possibly even a movie night.
A big thank you to everyone that has donated metal, bottles, cash, and their time to help give our local students an amazing opportunity to experience another culture that they might not have had otherwise.
Submitted by Evan Croteau