Save the Date: PHC Hunger Awareness Food Bank Campaign

Hunger Awareness Week is May 5-9, 2014

Next week is Food Banks Canada annual Hunger Awareness Week to raise awareness about hunger across our Nation.

PHC has created their own week long fundraising campaign with the goal of raising money and food to fill up the food bank shelves.

Food Banks Canada states that nearly 850,000 Canadians will visit a food bank for assistance this month alone. Of those, 36 per cent are children.

PHC gives out 18 tons of food annually to Gabriola residents in need.

“You don’t have to go far to see that hunger is something that is also a local concern. There are many working people and families struggling to make ends meet day to day”, says Sacha Petersen. “PHC food bank tries to help people stretch their money each week by offering a small boost to their cupboards and we are always grateful for the support we receive from our community”.

Our most needed food donations are:

  • canned fish or meat
  • canned beans, veggies, and fruit
  • pasta
  • juice boxes,
  • soup
  • rice
  • peanut- free lunch snacks
  • fresh fruit and veggies
  • boxed meals
  • oats

Here is how you can help PHC meet their fundraising goal during Hunger Awareness Week:

Monday & Tuesday:

100 Gabriolans can buy a little extra food and drop off donations at PHC.

Wednesday & Thursday:

200 Gabriolans can pack a brown bag lunch and donate their savings to PHC.


300 Gabriolans can become monthly donors.
To become a monthly donor go to .


400 Gabriolans can help “Fill the Truck”
May 10th from 10-2pm at the Folklife Village parking lot

About Hunger Awareness Week

Hunger Awareness Week was created to provide food banks with an opportunity to educate about the reality of hunger in Canada and to encourage all Canadians to make a choice to help those in need.  Close to 850,000 individuals turn to food banks for support each month, and close to 2 million Canadians are food insecure, struggling with not knowing where their next meal may come from.  Today, more than 800 food banks and 2,900 affiliated agencies work in communities across the country to assist Canadians in need.


Suicide Matters

Suicide Matters - Let s talk, it gets better
Suicide Matters – Let’s talk, it gets better

By Elisabeth Gillies, 

“The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a bad night.” 

~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
Beyond Good and Evil 

Suicide is an option. Allow it to be that. But as with any matter in life, it is prudent to give equal attention to more than one option.

As a young, recently hired assistant in a busy city of Edinburgh psychology department, I was given the task of cataloguing a personal library of one of the psychologists. The collection was to be donated to the teaching hospital. Earlier in the week the psychologist had opted out of her profession and out of her life. While I cannot recall the details of her suicide and had never met her in person, I recall a strong sense of empathy, felt simply by handling each one of her books. Continue reading Suicide Matters

16th Annual Home & Garden Tour

HomeGardenTour poster 4Sunday June 22nd, 2014
Tickets are $20/person

PHC has confirmed 10 new Gabriola homes and gardens that will be part of this years Home & Garden Tour.

The Home & Garden Tour is  our largest fundraising event and we are very excited about the homes and gardens on the 2014 tour.  A real Gabriola eclectic mix of everything:

  • Garden model train set
  • koi ponds and other water features
  • stunning west coast architecturally designed homes
  • homes with geo-thermal heating
  • gazebos
  • driftwood benches
  • sun and shade gardens
  • mature gardens and new gardens

Surely something of interest for everyone and a true testament that Gabriola really has it all!

Help support PHC’s programs by joining us on June 22nd, 2014.  Tickets will be available soon at the following locations:

Get your tickets in Nanaimo at:

  • Dig This
  • Long Lake Nursery
  • Blue Poppy Garden Gallery
  • Buckerfields

Get your tickets on Gabriola Island at:

  • Artworks
  • Wild Rose Garden Center
  • Wheelbarrel Nursery

16th Annual Home & Garden Tour

Satisfy your curiosity about some of Gabriola’s unique homes and gardens during the 16th Annual Gabriola Home & Garden Tour.

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014
Tickets are $20/person and will be available on June 1st

This day-long event offers visitors an exciting opportunity to take a self-guided tour of the selected sites, featuring uniquely designed and built homes and glorious west coast gardens.

The beautiful homes and gardens chosen for this special tour will awe, delight and inspire you.

Proceeds from this event help fund many community programs and services delivered by People for a Healthy Community.

This tour involves walking down rural driveways and on uneven ground. We regret it is not wheel chair accessible.

Get your tickets in Nanaimo at:

  • Dig This
  • Long Lake Nursery
  • Blue Poppy Garden Gallery
  • Buckerfields

Get your tickets on Gabriola Island at:

  • Artworks
  • Wild Rose Garden Center
  • Wheelbarrel Nursery.

For additional information contact Wendy Shaw at 250-247-7558 or at

Let’s Talk, it gets better – March

Suicide Matters - Let s talk, it gets better March’s article – reprinted with permission from the Gabriola Sounder

“I know what it feels like to want to die. For me, it’s devastating to think that problems spiral out of control, that the best option is to kill myself. There are no other options. It wouldn’t make a difference anyway.”

Though some of us have a hard time imagining what it feels like to give up, for Seth (not his real name), it is a familiar feeling. Seth is presently a strong, independent man. At 29 years old, he lives with his new partner on Gabriola and thrives on the positive energy he absorbs here on the island. It wasn’t always like that for him though.

“My family life didn’t help me. I was picked on as a kid and I was never allowed to talk about my feelings. I had constant fear and an ongoing sense of loss. I always wanted to get away from it. In my worst moments, there seemed to be no other outlet than suicide. I never seemed to learn about other choices.

“My mom was there for me. We talked about things when events in my life made it difficult for me to go on. For me, talking helps a lot. I let people know how I feel and I ask them to talk to me. I realize now that many people feel sad. I can be helpful to them too.

“I love… video games, talking to others. On-line relationships help me get close to people faster. We talk about serious things.

“I realize, now, there really isn’t anything wrong with me. Now when I get depressed, I just talk to people I trust and those I know really care.”

Seth sounds like any of us. We all feel sad sometimes. We all need someone to talk to, and activities that make us happy. There are so many people on Gabriola who are caring, loving individuals. If you want to talk… there’s always someone who can listen!

In the meantime, if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, here are some important phone numbers to note:

Crisis Contact Info

Let’s Talk – it gets better.

Lets Talk, it gets better – February

Suicide Matters - Let s talk, it gets better

February’s article – by Joood Heather
reprinted with permission from the Gabriola Sounder

Over the last year, we on Gabriola have lost three of our members to suicide: three precious human beings with parents, partners, children, siblings, friends, colleagues, and neighbours.

As losses go, suicide is staggeringly painful to the people left behind, who are additionally burdened by stigma, often making it more difficult for them to openly grieve and heal. What makes it even harder to bear, for many of us, is the knowledge that suicide, the deadly last symptom of a treatable illness, is usually preventable.

With this in mind, some people in this community have come together to see what we can do to make suicide more preventable on Gabriola, and to find ways to enable help to more easily reach people who may be contemplating this permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Under the aegis of People For a Healthy Community (PHC) this group will be taking some actions in the next few months to promote understanding of mental illnesses and to lessen the stigma surrounding them.

As a part of this effort, Sarah Holmes, Publisher of the Gabriola Sounder, is partnering with PHC, and will be printing a series of articles on this topic, written by different community members.

Some articles will be educational, and some anecdotal. We hope that you will read them and find them informative and useful.

We trust as well, that they will expand your awareness of the barriers that people face in accepting help, accessing treatment, and finding support. We believe that the more people know and understand these issues, the more likely it is that people in despair can find the path back to health and happiness.

In the meantime, if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, here are some important numbers to note:

Crisis Contact Info

Lets Talk, it gets better

Transportation Tuesdays

Are you a senior or a person on disability without transportation?

Is getting to Nanaimo a major challenge?

The Circle of Care Program at People for a Healthy Community (PHC) will be offering rides on Tuesdays to Nanaimo.

A rotation of volunteers will drive to doctor’s appointments or for shopping.

  • Departure on the 10:05 am ferry with the aim to return on the 2:30 pm ferry.
  • Driver’s will contact participants to arrange drop off and pick up and discuss travel plans.
  • minimum $5 charge for gas plus passenger fare. Please bring your TAP form (“pink slip”) for medical appointments.

Contact the PHC Seniors Resource Centre for more details: 250-325-2273
or email:


Press Release: PHC Hires New Executive Director

The Board of Directors of People for a Healthy Community (PHC) is delighted to announce that Brenda Fowler has been hired as the new Executive Director (ED), effective immediately. Charlie Cheffins, Chair of the PHC Board, says, “Brenda brings many years of non-profit and management know-how to the job, including extensive community development and fundraising experience. We’re lucky to have someone of her calibre in a leadership role at PHC.”

Fowler, who previously served as President of the Gabriola Health Care Society and currently sits as a Board member with the Gabriola Auxiliary for Island Health Care Society, says, “I’m looking forward to working with the experienced staff and committed volunteers at PHC to continue to create a safe, healthy community for everyone on Gabriola. I’ve always admired the work that PHC does, and I am honoured to have an opportunity to make a contribution.”

Fowler takes over from Interim ED Stephanie Rossel, who recently launched the innovative ThinkGiving fundraising campaign, and developed social enterprise and microlending models for PHC. Cheffins says, “The Board wants to acknowledge Stephanie’s significant contribution to PHC over the past three years, and especially in her role as Interim ED. Stephanie brought enormous energy, heart and commitment to the organization.”

PHC, the sole non-profit social service agency on Gabriola, operates the Food Bank, the Circle of Care (including the monthly Seniors’ Luncheon and Seniors’ Resource Centre, and counselling services), the landlord-tenant matching program, community gardens, and much more.

The ThinkGiving campaign attracted a number of new monthly and one-time donors, which has made a big difference in this time of need. The Board would like to thank all who contributed over the past few weeks. Cheffins says, “Fall is always a particularly difficult cash-flow period, and this year is no exception. We’re grateful for the support.” It’s not too late to contribute to the campaign—see the PHC website ( for details.

PHC ThinkGiving Campaign

Watch the ThinkGiving Campaign Video

ThinkGiving is a grassroots fundraising campaign for People for a Healthy Community.

On Oct. 1, 2013 PHC launched a ten-day fundraising campaign with the goal of increasing regular monthly donations by 1,000—that’s ten-times-ten-times-ten—by encouraging all Gabriolans to commit to a minimum $10/month donation by October 10th, 2013.

Imagine 1,000 Gabriolans donating $10 on 10/10/2013: $10×1000 or 10x10x10x10=$10,000.
Imagine 1,000 Gabriolans committing to donate $10 per month: 10x1000x12=$120,000.
Imagine 1,000 Gabriolans each asking one friend to donate $10.

ThinkGiving banner new versionIt just keeps multiplying!

Please make a $10/month donation to PHC between October 1 to 10, 2013 and watch our imagination become a reality.

Click here to see all of the ways we’ve made it easy for you to make a donation to PHC.

To learn about other ways you can support PHC throughout the year go to our Home page and click on “Support Us”.

Other ways to support our campaign:

Your help today:

• Helps keep our Gabriola Food Bank open and operating
• Helps keep our Food Bank gardens growing
• Helps ensure that PHC continues to offer Monday, Tuesday, and Friday free soup socials
• Supports the Seniors’ garden program
• Supports the Circle of Care program for seniors
• Helps keep Gabriolan seniors connected though the seniors’ monthly luncheon
• Supports free counseling and outreach
• Supports caregivers support groups
• Helps link landlords with tenants on Gabriola
• Supports Moms ‘n Babes program
• Supports seniors’ comfort on computers programs
• Supports Transportation Tuesdays for seniors

Thanks for your support.