When downtown Courtenay business owner Sheila Toni first heard the news about the discovery of a burial site with 215 children on the Kamloops Indian Residential School, she was heartbroken.
“It just really got my heart,” said the owner of Sacred Earth Metaphysical.
She eventually came up with a fundraising initiative. Toni is selling glass orange hearts at her store, at 475 Cliffe Avenue, right across the street from the Sid Williams Theatre.
|The Every Child Matters heart is approximately 3.5 inches wide. Photo by Terry Farrell|
All profits from the sale of the $29 glass hearts go directly to the Indian Residential School Survivor Society (IRSSS).
“I just felt the need in my heart… One day it just really came to me that I needed to do my part in helping, so this little project is exactly that,” said Toni. “In doing this fundraiser it is my hopes that we support the IRSSS through awareness, healing, and reconciliation.”
The hearts are hand-blown and designed by one of her suppliers, Kitras Art Glass, in Ontario, although orange is not one of the colours offered by the company.
“They make them in red, purple and pink, and some other ones that are variegated, but I didn’t see anything that really spoke to (this cause) so I wrote them and asked them if they could make an orange one, and they wrote me back less than two hours later and said they would be happy to make an orange one, and make (a custom) label.”
Toni reached out to the IRSSS and they agreed the tag should read “every child matters.”
The project could raise as much as $20,000 for the cause.
Toni has devised a unique method for tracking sales of the hearts. She bought a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, and with every heart sold, she will add a piece to the puzzle until it is complete. The puzzle is designed by Indigenous artist Betty Albert.