Mae Vienneau pictured here, along with Louis Veress and Brian and Barbara Hewitt, decided to form the “We Care Group”. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

Mae Vienneau pictured here, along with Louis Veress and Brian and Barbara Hewitt, decided to form the “We Care Group”. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

Seniors’ give $15,000 over 12 years, to BC Children’s Hospital

The We Care Group raises money through bottle and can donations

A group out of Granisle has been donating to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation in Vancouver through money raised from bottle and can donations.

Four friends, Mae Vienneau, Louis Veress and Brian and Barbara Hewitt, decided to form a group called “We Care Group” and start doing some charitable work together.

“My wife Barbara and I were close friends with Mae and Louise, and we decided to form a group to support a cause by collecting cans and bottles. Barbara and I had done this for years with boy scouts and other groups,” said Brian Hewitt.

“When Louise came up with BC Children’s Hospital, we all agreed even though none of us had any previous personal experience or connection with it. That was April 2008,” he said.

The first entry for the group’s donation is from April 27, 2008. Since then, the group has raised and sent over $15,000 to the BC Children’s Hospital.

“I don’t remember who came up with the name, but it was natural for us. Mae was asked to be treasurer and still is. She has all the receipts from day one to date. All overhead costs, gas to drive, is covered by us. We can truthfully say that every penny we receive goes to the BC Children’s hospital,” said Hewitt.

On January 9, 2009, Louise Veress passed away and Barbara Hewitt passed away on May 1, 2018. However, Brian and Mae kept going with the work that their group started.

“Over the years we have met a number of parents whose children were cared for by BC Children’s hospital. When we are tired, we think of those who wouldn’t even reach our ages and that thought revitalizes us to get back to working on this,” said Hewitt.

This year the group has collected $4,000.

“A good year can be $2,000 but this year has been really good. We get a lot of people donating cans and bottles in Granisle, Topley and Babine,” said Mae.

From September 2019 to October of this year in just over 12 months, the group has sent down $4,000. They had planned to donate this year’s bottle collection to the Beanstalk Childcare Centre in Houston, after their recyclables were stolen. However, the childcare was able to raise enough money and they asked the group to make their donation towards the hospital as usual.

“Every year has been at least $1,000; this year was the biggest and we would’ve been happy to help the centre but they raised enough money,” said Mae, adding, “It’s a lot of work to sort, bag all these cans; but it is worth it. $15,000 doesn’t sound a lot for an individual but it is a lot of money coming out of just cans and bottles. We love doing this work.”

While Mae lives in Granisle, Brian drives down from Houston to help sort the bottles and cans. They also have another member helping them out who donated a trailer to the group to help haul the bottles and cans. The group covers all the overhead costs associated with this activity and have even paid to print out their business cards and a couple of signs to advertise about the group’s activities.

“We love doing it because our children are all healthy and lot of the children around are not and need the help,” said Brian.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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