Teri Hustins is the owner of Oscar & Libby’s at 795 Fort Street and the co-chair of the Fort Street Business Association. She provided this update about the Fort Street Kindness Meters.
Look for the brightly painted Kindness Meters in the 700 block of Fort Street – you can’t miss them!
A year and a half ago, one of our Fort Street business owners saw a picture of an old school parking meter that had been converted into a collection station, flit by in the twitterverse. The visual of the meter stuck but was filed away. Much later, the picture resurfaced and was circulated amongst the business owners of the 700 block of Fort Street. Two questions were asked of the group: “What do you think?” and, “Would you like to see one of these meters on our block?” The response… a resounding “YES, let’s do it!”
Sharing a little kindness on Fort Street
The group met over coffee one morning, to figure out how to bring one of these meters to their street. But they needed someone at city hall to champion the project for them. That’s where councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe stepped in to help. They also needed to figure out where the collected funds would go. Which organizations? Charlayne Thornton-Joe introduced the group and the initiative to the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.
The Coalition’s social inclusion co-ordinators and group provided guidance and feedback about the meters. It was important to the business owners that the funds collected in the meters go to two organizations; one with a mandate of providing immediate relief and one with a long-term/big picture vision to assisting people experiencing homelessness in Victoria. With input from the Coalition’s social inclusion group, two local organizations were decided upon: The 9-10 Club and Pacifica Housing’s Streets To Homes Program.
A proposal for the initiative was submitted to the city and within days it was approved. Three days later, two old school parking meters were delivered by the city’s parking department and the painting and stickering of the meters began. Three weeks later, two bright pink and lime green Kindness Meters were unveiled at the mid-block crosswalk in the 700 block of Fort Street, ready to collect change.
The Fort Street location of Vancity has been very involved and supportive of the meters and generously matched the first $500 donated to them. This coming November, all of the funds collected in the meters will be given to the 9-10 Club and to Pacifica Housing.
To date, the Kindness Meters have collected close to $3000… now that’s a lot of kindness!
The Kindness Meter YYJ project is the result of local businesses, municipal government and our community groups, working together to try something new and different. The meters themselves give folks who work, live and play on Fort Street another way to contribute the coins in their pockets to an issue which is very much in the limelight in our city.
If you should find yourself in the 700 block of Fort Street, look for the brightly painted meters, and plunk some change into them. And thank you to all of the folks on Fort Street, who have already shared a little kindness!
Thank you to all who have plunked their pocket change into Fort Street’s Kindness Meter