Russ Nelson in his shop, preparing bags of kindling as a fundraiser for the Comox Valley Child Development Association. Photo supplied

Annual kindling sale to raise money for the Comox Valley Child Development Association

By Brooklyn Galloway

Special to the Record

Since 2014, Russ and Sharon Nelson have been spearheading the Kindling For Kids fundraiser. They have been spending their spare time organizing and preparing quality bags of kindling to sell in support of the Comox Valley Child Development Association (CVCDA).

Large bags of quality, hand-split kindling can be purchased for $35 (cash only) at Reliable Auto Body at the corner of McPhee and Cumberland Road (787 Cumberland Road) or from Russ and Sharon’s front drive at 221 Spindrift Drive in Royston. Bags are available typically starting in the early fall and throughout winter until supplies last.

They usually sell out by spring at the latest.

The whole process comes together with the support of many contributors including the donation of wood from Ed and Ian Leakey of Chinook Forest Products. Then Russ and friends, including Cliff Piercy and Lucas Stiefvater, dry and prepare logs into blocks, and blocks into blanks using the electric log splitter. Before being delivered, each blank is hand-split at Russ’s workshop and placed directly into heavy-duty garbage bags. Even the bags are donated, by Home Depot. Once at Reliable Auto Body, Mike MacLaren has the bags stacked and ready for easy pick up and purchase.

The Nelsons originally got involved with the CVCDA back in the early ’70s when the organization was in its early days. Their son who was only three at the time had been involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in him becoming a paraplegic. It was suggested to Sharon their son might benefit from services at the centre which was originally located in Cumberland.

The Nelsons and their son benefitted from various therapies and the time their young son could spend being cared for out of the home. Eventually, Sharon was approached to participate on the CVCDA board.

After serving for many years, she eventually resigned for other commitments but continued their family’s support through regular donations and pitching in wherever until the inception of Kindling For Kids.

In an interview in 2021, Sharon got a little emotional when asked how it feels to be involved and to support the work being done through the CVCDA.

“I feel really proud to be part of it, and I think it’s important that we all pitch in and do as much as we can, as much as we are able to do because it benefits so many people,” she said.

The CVCDA is so grateful for the Nelsons’ passion and the support their family has brought to the children and their families who receive services through the organization.

Each year, the Nelsons participate in the annual CVCDA Children’s Telethon fundraiser to present the organization with a cheque for the total amount raised through the year. This year’s telethon will broadcast live from the Sid Williams Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 6 from noon-8 p.m.

Since 2014, partial proceeds have also gone to the Canucks For Kids Fund.

To date, the CVCDA has nearly $37,000 from Kindling For Kids. The large bags of kindling sell for $35 each, $24 of which is donated to the CVCDA, $6 to the Canucks For Kids Fund and the remaining amount is used for expenses required to maintain equipment for kindling preparation.

In addition to the funds raised through the sale of kindling, some of the Nelsons’ partners also make contributions to the CVCDA year over year on behalf of Kindling for Kids. In 2021, Chris and Tatyana Smith of Nelson Roofing & Sheet Metal donated $500 and MacLaren and his team of Reliable Auto Body another $1,200.

Get your bag of kindling today and help support local child development. Visit the Telethon online for all details: www.cvcda.ca/telethon

Charity and DonationsComox Valley

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