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Courtenay’s Driftwood Mall drops YANA fundraiser - other ways for community to offer support

One door closed, but many doors to support YANA are still open

The holiday season is looking bright for YANA families despite some disappointing news they received in late October.

Although all systems were “Go” in July for the Driftwood Mall to restart their Christmas Trees for YANA fundraiser that they had been hosting to raise funds for YANA for nearly 20 years, in October, BentalGreenOak let YANA know via their Driftwood Mall local administration that they would not be running the fundraiser moving forward.

“The mall’s fundraiser for YANA has been a tradition of the season for so long, and it typically raised about $10,000 for YANA families each year, so it was definitely tough news to receive. We will be helping with about 400 medical trips this year, so we’re just super grateful that there are so many other ways for people to continue supporting YANA families over the holidays,” said YANA executive director, Kelly Barnie.

(Driftwood Mall management has yet to respond to interview requests from the Comox Valley Record. There is a tree display at the mall this year, decorated by local businesses, with an opportunity to vote for your favourite by giving a $5 donation to the BC Children’s Hospital, but there is no silent auction of the trees.)

You Are Not Alone (YANA) is a local non-profit society that provides accommodation and funding to Comox Valley families who need to travel outside the community for medical treatment for a child under 19 or for a pregnant mother.

The team at YANA is excited that so many doors are open to unique ways the Comox Valley can come together and spread generosity in the spirit of giving this holiday season.

YANA Christmas Crackers

Sales of the time-honoured YANA Christmas Crackers are already off to a fantastic start. Five thousand crackers have been lovingly handcrafted by volunteers and filled with the usual delights. Fifty crackers have special prizes, including one with a breathtaking diamond ring valued at over $5,600.

“The cracker prizes are awesome this year,” said Barnie. “There are $1,000 in Quality Foods grocery gift cards alone, so I think there are going to be some very excited cracker snappers this year!”

Crackers are $5 each and are available for cash purchase while supplies last at Edible Island Whole Foods Market, Quality Foods and Tin Town Cafe in Courtenay, John’s Your Independent Grocer, Quality Foods and the Comox Community Centre in Comox, and at Seeds Food Market in Cumberland.

Crown Isle Holiday Resort Walk & Gingerbread Village Charity Auction

Along with the Comox Valley Transition Society and MARS Wildlife Rescue, YANA will be a shared recipient of the proceeds from the spectacular Holiday Resort Walk and Gingerbread Village & Teddy Bear Basket Charity Auction at Crown Isle & Golf Community this year. The Holiday Resort Walk starts on Dec. 2, and continues on Dec. 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16-21. Hours are 5-8 p.m. each night. Admission to the Holiday Resort Walk is by cash donation or tap to donate.

Donate late-model used iPads

Over the years, My Tech Guys had refurbished and passed on several donated iPads to YANA to be used for payment processing at their fundraising events. The iOS systems now required for Square and other apps are higher than the older iPads can handle, so YANA is hoping some newer iPads might come their way over the holiday season.

“We know we need two or three iPads that have iOS 14 or higher so that they can run at least Version 5 of the Square App. If anyone finds themselves with a brand new iPad under the tree this year, we’d sure love it if they’d consider donating their older model to YANA,” said Barnie.

Charitable donations/monthly donation

“Charitable donations made near the end of the tax year and donations in lieu of gifts are always a big portion of the funds we receive each year to help the children and families we serve,” explains Barnie. “There are so many incredible local charities in the Comox Valley, and the support we receive this time of year really makes a huge difference for the work we’re able to do. I truly wish every donor would be able to hear the relief in the voices of the parents we help. It may seem like it’s just a number on a year-end tax receipt but how a family who receives YANA support feels knowing their community has made the support possible is something more special than I could possibly explain.”

Monthly donations help YANA plan ahead and ensure that they have sustainable funding throughout the year. YANA uses the online platform where you can set up a one-time or recurring monthly donation.

“So many of the Comox Valley residents are struggling in the face of inflation and pandemic recovery, but with the community’s help, YANA plans to continue to lift some of that strain on the local families needing to leave the community for medical support. Together, we can make our community a little brighter this year.”

For more information on buying YANA Christmas Crackers, the Crown Isle Resort Walk, donating an iPad as a unique way to give, or making a tax-receipted charitable donation, visit