If you haven’t been to a Grizzlies game yet this season, or even if you have, you won’t want to miss Friday’s action at The Q Centre.
The Victoria Grizzlies are taking on the Nanaimo Clippers on Jan. 26 for Family Fun Night and there will be lots of excitement for all ages on and off the ice.
In its eighth year of operation, the Saunders Family Foundation supports children and youth programs in the community and will be the beneficiary of some of the funds raised at Friday’s game.
Jim tenHove has been with the organization since the beginning and approached Bob Saunders and the rest of the family about starting their own foundation back when they owned Saunders Subaru in Colwood.
“They’ve always been there. They’ve contributed to the community when they had the dealership for 30 years,” tenHove said, adding the foundation is a way to expand and carry on that tradition. “We’ve given away over $250,000 during the past seven years.”
The foundation helps supports programs at all three of the high schools in the Sooke School District, all three middle schools on the West Shore and several of the elementary schools. These programs range from music to performing arts to breakfast clubs. The foundation also supports local cadet groups, sports clubs ranging from hockey to gymnastics and other groups in need.
But it’s not just programs in Greater Victoria, it also supports programs in Duncan and on Salt Spring Island.
With the goal of helping whenever and where ever possible, funds need to come from somewhere. The foundation hosts one major fundraiser a year, a golf tournament in May. Some of the major sponsors of that event will be on hand helping the Saunders Family Foundation hand out roughly $15,000 in cheques to different groups.
“And there will be more,” tenHove promised. “It just has a mushroom effect every time we do something. It’s just awesome.”
tenHove pointed to the breakfast program the foundation supports at a school on Salt Spring. Their donation was matched by other businesses in the community and the program has now expanded to another school. tenHove added since the program started attendance has gone up as well as comprehension.
In that spirit, the foundation has teamed up with Ken Taylor, who owns and operates McDonald’s franchises in Colwood, Langford, Esquimalt and Sooke.
Taylor purchased the special jerseys the Grizzlies have been sporting this month. They’re a Boston Bruin-style jersey with the Saunders Family Foundation logo. They’ll be worn again on Friday, autographed and auctioned off with 50 per cent of the proceeds going to the foundation.
But that’s not all the excitement in store for the evening. One lucky fan could also win a brand new 2018 Subaru Forester from Pattison Subaru in the Shoot to Win contest during the game. Fans can donate to enter their name in the ballot box for a chance to participate.
“It’s going to be a great night, we’re going to have lots of fun,” tenHove said.