“We’re called the pretty church on the ocean, but we’re more than a pretty church,” says Jan Volker, chairperson of St. Francis-in-the-Wood’s Social Concerns Committee. We could not agree more! The church, located in West Vancouver, BC, has been supporting Operation Eyesight for almost 25 years.
“We really believe in Operation Eyesight’s projects,” says Jan. “The work you do is sustainable. You get involved in the communities where you are, teaching people while you’re there, and we value that.”
A few years ago, Dan Parlow, chair of Operation Eyesight’s Board of Directors, met with Jan and the rest of the committee. Jan says the meeting gave them a personal connection with Operation Eyesight. “The fact that an organization would take the time to do that was very meaningful to us,” she explains.
Jan says that the work Operation Eyesight does to restore people’s sight also strikes a chord with the congregation because everyone’s eyesight changes as they age.
The church committee, a small group of seven, is a creative bunch – planning everything from bake sales and silent auctions to garden tours and yoga classes. Their biggest fundraiser of the year is the “Auction of Promises,” where people in the congregation promise to do something for the winning bidder.
“People can’t wait for the auction each year,” says Jan. Participants have dinner and try to outbid each other for items such as accommodations in Whistler, BC for the weekend, homemade dessert every month for a year, flamenco dance lessons or a crabbing trip for six people.
“It’s incredible what people come up with,” adds Jan. “Some of the items sell for a couple thousand dollars!”
“The more fun it is, the better,” says Jan. “And the more people who get involved, the more money we can raise for Operation Eyesight!”
Thank you for your loyal support, St. Francis-in-the-Wood! We love hearing about the creative fundraising events our amazing donors are organizing in their communities. To learn more about planning an event, please check out our Fundraising Toolkit here.