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Saanich family raising money for humanitarian build in Dominican Republic

Bottle drive set for Feb. 5 and 6 at Glanford Avenue bottle depot
Helmar Prael pushes a wheelbarrow on a humanitarian build in 2018 with former colleagues – an experience that inspired him to include his family when possible. (Photo courtesy of Helmar Prael)

A Gordon Head family is planning to travel to the Dominican Republic for a humanitarian build this March.

Helmar Prael’s family will be joined by five of Prael’s former colleagues and together they will build a home for a family in need.

“I have been on one build before and it was such an impactful experience that I wanted my wife and kids to experience it too,” said Prael, who is organizing the upcoming trip.

On Feb. 5 and 6, Prael’s wife and their two kids aged 15 and 17 are set to host a bottle drive at the Glanford Avenue bottle depot. The fundraising event at 4261 Glanford Ave. is from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. to raise money for trip costs.

Fundraising efforts will cover volunteer accommodations, meals, building supplies, a local contractor, and a bit of local help, said Prael.

The trip is made possible through a Canadian organization called Live Different that supports builds in areas of the world experiencing a large need for functional family homes.

“It’s just an incredible experience and it makes such a difference to these families.”

Building houses in other areas of the world has inspired Prael to help out in his own backyard by volunteering with Saanich Volunteer Services Society where he takes seniors to their appointments.

A lesson important to him and his family is to be of service to people wherever possible.

To learn more about the build visit

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