Michelle Hall, mayor Josie Osborne, Kelby Holmes and Liam Cook had a blast crafting reuseable plastic-alternative creations during December’s Surfrider Pacific Rim Stitch ‘n’ Beach event at the Tofino Botanical Gardens. The popular Stitch ‘n’ Beach initiative was recently awarded $10,000 from the Aviva Community Fund. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

VIDEO: Surfrider’s Stitch’n’Beach program earns $10K prize

Events hosted in Tofino, Ucluelet, Opitsaht and Hitacu

It’s about to get even easier to stitch it rather than ditching it on the West Coast.

The Surfrider Foundation’s Pacific Rim Chapter capped off 2018 with a well-earned celebration as the plastic-fighting group’s popular Stitch ‘n’ Beach program received a $10,000 prize from the Aviva Community Fund. The fund uses online voting to find inspiring community initiatives that “bring people together and make change within their community,” according to Aviva’s website.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Surfrider Foundation invites Tofino council candidates to cigarette butt cleanup

Aviva dished out over $1 million to programs across Canada this year with over one million votes tallied and 60 winners chosen. Scoring a spot among the top 60 vote getters across the country was a tremendous score for Surfrider’s West Coast operation, which works in a region of roughly 5,500 people.

“It took a lot of leverage and a lot of hustling for all of the community to get online and vote for the Stitch ‘n’ Beach program,” Surfrider past-chair Michelle Hall told the Westerly News during December’s Stitch ‘n’ Beach event.

“It was really supportive because it shows the community values this program, values the community that it brings together and they want it to continue.”

READ MORE: Surfrider chair honoured in Tofino

Surfrider launched Stitch ‘n’ Beach in 2016 with the goal of creating 1,000 re-useable bags to help West Coast communities transition away from plastic bags. The program has since doubled that goal and has evolved into monthly events that spread awareness about the impacts of single-use plastics and teach community members how to create their own plastic-alternative products.

“It also supports the idea of ‘fix it don’t ditch it,’” Hall said. “You can come and bring your torn items, learn how to fix them, and you can leave feeling happy and fantastic that you’ve done all this great work moving away from plastics.”

READ MORE: Tofino working on bylaw to restrict single-use plastics

Stitch ‘n’ Beach events are led by Surfrider volunteer Kelby Holmes who has been excited to see the connections created across generations.

“Stitch ‘n’ Beach events are amazing because they get so many different people from different age groups into one room to share a general interest in crafts and sewing,” she said. “There’s some really amazing people in our community and it’s really great to get to meet them and share this shared curiosity of trying to do projects and get rid of single-use plastics.”

She added the $10,000 prize will go towards buying new sewing machines to expand the group’s reuseable bag-building capacity and offering more events in more communities throughout the region.

READ MORE: Tofino turns old wetsuits into new yoga mats



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Home care complaints up 45% on Vancouver Island

Number of home care hours delivered down 6%, complaints up 45 %

VIDEO: West Coast youth learn the ins and outs of business

Students develop company ‘Wild Coasters’

Cost of living going up while wages are going down in Tofino and Ucluelet

The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust’s Vital Signs Report shows need to diversify economy.

Extreme waves and king tides expected around Tofino and Ucluelet this weekend

Extreme wave hazard warning at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

VIDEO: Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

Former Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay voted into Baseball Hall of Fame

M’s legend Edgar Martinez, Rivera, Mussina also make the grade

Why would the B.C. legislature need a firewood splitter?

First sign of police involvement in investigation of top managers

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Judge annuls hairdresser’s forced marriage to boss’ relative

Woman was told she’d be fired if she didn’t marry boss’s Indian relative so he could immigrate here

Liberals look to make home-buying more affordable for millennials: Morneau

Housing is expected to be a prominent campaign issue ahead of October’s federal election

Cannabis-carrying border crossers could be hit with fines under coming system

Penalties are slated to be in place some time next year

Man accused of threatening to kill ‘as many girls as I see’

Christopher W. Cleary wrote he was angry because he’d never had a girlfriend and wanted to ‘make it right’ with a mass shooting

Most Read