When Maple Leaf Self Storage was challenged to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this past summer, we decided to put a ‘Twist’ on the challenge and to donate to a local grassroots charity. We chose Starlight Children’s Foundation of BC to receive our donation of $500.
I sat down with Heather Burnett, Regional Coordinator for the BC Chapter of Starlight Children’s Foundation, to present our donation and to learn more about the valuable work that they are doing. Starlight has been one of Maple Leaf’s community partners since 2010.
Starlight Children’s Foundation transforms the lives of serious or chronically ill children and their families by providing a range of support throughout their journey from hospital to home.
Throughout the year, Starlight collects donations of new toys, clothes and gift cards for their Joy of Sharing program. All of these items are stored at our Vancouver Self Storage facility on Commercial Drive. Joy of Sharing is intended to help families who are experiencing financial hardship and who may not be able to buy gifts for their children otherwise. This year, the Joy of Sharing event will be held on December 13th. In preparation for the event, Heather and her team of Starlight “elves” will transform a donated space into a magical toy bazaar. On the day of the event, while the children are busy playing games and crafting, parents will be able to select a few special gifts and gift cards for their children and families. And with the help of the Starlight “elves”, the gifts will be wrapped and placed in the family’s vehicle without the kids ever knowing!
Last year, Starlight had 70 families participate in the Joy of Sharing. This year, they are expecting around 80 families and they need your help to be able to provide a memorable experience for each child. Starlight does not receive any government or United Way funding. Instead, all funding and gifts-in-kind come from local businesses and individuals.
How to get involved:
- Donate a new toy, new item of clothing (ex. Pyjamas, hats, mittens, etc.) or gift card for a child (from infant to teen)
- Make a donation by visiting www.starlightjoyofsharing.ca. Starlight can stretch every dollar donated!
- Donate products or services, in kind. Maple Leaf Self Storage has provided Starlight free-of-charge storage space for the past 4 years!
- Spread the word about Starlight in the community. Follow them on Twitter @StarlightBC or@StarlightCanada and like their Facebook page here.
- Volunteer as an individual. Starlight is always looking for passionate volunteers!
- Organize a team of employees; which can be a great team building experience.
Heather said the “Maple Leaf Self Storage locker is invaluable to Starlight and without the space we wouldn’t have anywhere to store all of the great donations we receive throughout the year. We are always greeted with a smile by Sherry and her team at the Commercial Drive location; they feel like part of the Joy of Sharing team!”
If you are looking for a great cause to get involved with, look no further than Starlight Children’s Foundation. Whether you wish to volunteer, donate or spread the word, it is simple to get started. Just contact Heather Burnett at [email protected] and let her know how you would like to help. Even a few hours each month can make a big difference. This is also a great thing to get kids involved with at a young age as it shows them the importance of giving back to their community.
We would like to thank Heather and her team for their tremendous work and continued efforts! You are making Vancouver a better place one child at a time!