Auction items needed for Cowichan Neighbourhood House

Auction held at Chemainus' giant July 9 street market


The Cowichan Neighbourhood House Association (CNHA) is looking for a few good items to silent auction off during the Chemainus Giant Street Market July 9.


Arlene Robinson, steering committee chair, said the association is now accepting quality new and used items, art or services to help raise much-needed funds to keep the neighbourhood house running.


“We’re looking for anything that would be saleable that people would bid on.” she said.


“It could be candle stick holders, dishes, it could be a dinner for two at a restaurant or certificates. In the past, we’ve had sculptures, paintings, even a stainless steel mixing set.”


Their last silent auction was held three years ago and raised approximately $3,000.


“We’re hoping to make that much again this year, but everything helps,” Robinson said.


The CNHA is a non-profit volunteer organization which runs a variety of youth and family programs out of the ‘Neighbourhood House’, located at the old Chemainus Fire Hall.


It is one of only four official ‘houses’ on Vancouver Island, though they are currently helping to establish another one just south of Duncan.


“It’s like a community centre, only everything is free,” Robinson said.


“They are very important because it really is neighbours helping neighbours.”


Because they are not government funded, the association must raise at least $20-25,000 every year, to stay operational.


This year marks 14 years of bringing the community together.


“If there is something needed in the community, we get people together, they either raise money for whatever type of program they’re putting on or we see if we can get a grant,” Robinson explained.


“We have been fortunate the last couple of years to get a little money from gaming.”


Volunteers are the heart of the neighbourhood house. The CNHA is made up of 100 members who donate their time to run such programs as Cooking for Teens and Adults, the free store, Peer Support, Literacy and Healthy Soup classes.


“We have a group of people that come in and learn how to make soup from scratch, we get them to make extra soup so we can feed our youth on the after school program,” Robinson said.


There are currently 135 youth registered as neighbourhood house participants.


“This community has, sometimes, a problem with teens… and that we’ve slowly been able to overcome over the years,” Robinson said.


The CNHA provides youths with a range of extra-curricular activities such as camps, field trips, concerts and music lessons. In house, they are able to use the gaming facilities and can participate in after-school tutorial sessions if they are needing help in school. Many of the youth also participate in fundraising for trips.


“It is really about getting people out to help each other in the community.” Robinson said.


The silent auction will run July 9 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. alongside the CNHA regular garage sale.


To donate, contact Cindy Durrant at 250-246-3203.