Vital People: Helping families with Mustard Seed’s Fair Start program

Vital People: Helping families with Mustard Seed's Fair Start program

Donations of back-to-school supplies are getting dropped off at LIDA Construction for Greater Victoria families in need.

“We’re collecting backpacks, runners, school supplies, non-perishable snacks and gift cards,” explains Kathy Campitelli, vice president of sales and marketing for LIDA Construction.

It’s all for the Mustard Seed’s Fair Start program, which helps hundreds of low income families every year.

“The fair Start program is something that’s been running for over 10 years now and the goal is to supply families with much-needed back-to-school supplies, which, as you know, the cost of everything is up,” says Mustard Seed sponsorship and community relations manager Janice James.

And so it’s no surprise that this year, more families are struggling.

“We have a much higher demand,” Janice says. “We have 400 families registered already and we anticipate it reaching 600, so that is a lot.”

“We know that there’s lots of kids that can’t afford to buy school supplies and a lot of families that are struggling and we wanted to step in and help out,” Kathy adds.

Giving back is a part of the corporate culture at LIDA, which also supports the Mustard Seed’s Christmas toy drive.

“It is so important to contribute back to the community where we all live and work and play and it feels great to be a part of something important like this,” says Kathy.

It’s much-needed help after a fire at the Mustard Seed at the end of March, which continues to disrupt operations.

Meals are still being served in the parking lot and the renovations are causing some challenges for the Fair Start program.

“Our chapel is not available right now, so logistically we have to get these families in, get them fitted with the right shoes that fit, the right clothing that fits, the backpacks, the school supplies,” Janice explains. “It’s a big deal.”

But Janice says the community support has been amazing.

“We’ve had some really generous donations, one of which was an anonymous donor who donated over $17,000-worth of runners, and Front Runners stepped up to the plate offered us a very good price for some runners that we purchased,” she says.

LIDA is now challenging other builders and renovation companies to take part in the school supply and gift card drive. Donations can be dropped off at LIDA, just off the Pat Bay Highway near the Saanich and Central Saanich border, until July 26.

“It really feels great to see people come in with donations because you can tell it really means something to them,” Kathy says. “It’s very heartwarming and it puts a smile on all of our faces that we know the community is behind us.”

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!