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UFV employees hand out arts-and-craft kits to Chilliwack families during COVID-19 pandemic

The kits feature painting messages of support on rocks, making thank-you cards for essential workers
UFV employees (from left) Josephine Charlie, Jerri-Lynne Cameron and Ruby Ord assemble rock-painting kits for children and their families at the Chilliwack campus on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

A group of University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) employees is helping local kids and their families get crafty while sending out messages of appreciation to essential service workers through free arts kits.

Since last week, Josephine Charlie, Ruby Ord and Jerrie-Lynne Cameron have been assembling dozens of arts-and-craft kits which they’ve been handing out to local indigenous families with young children, people living in The Family Centre at Ruth and Naomi’s, and participants with Chilliwack Community Services.

“The university sat down and different groups of people wanted to help in the community,” Ord said.

They’re calling it Community Craft Time and so far they put together and distributed more than 80 rock-painting kits last week. This week, they assembled packages for the families to make thank-you cards for frontline workers, and next week it’ll be woven paper baskets in the shape of a heart.

The rock-painting kits included paint, paint brushes, a rock, and ideas of what to paint including encouraging words to essential workers.

When finished, families have been placing the rocks outside where people can see and read the kind messages, while the thank-you cards will be given to healthcare and other essential service workers.

“Response to the week one kits has been utterly heartwarming and positive,” said Danielle Mijo-Burch, UFV communications and events coordinator. “One family said their kids had so much fun painting, they went out and collected more rocks to decorate and hide around the community. The dad even lacquered his kids’ creations for extra weather protection and shine.”

All of the funds to purchase the supplies has come out of the pockets of UFV employees Josephine Charlie, Ruby Ord, Jerrie-Lynne Cameron, Danielle Mijo-Burch and Rita Atake with support also from Maureen Wideman. They have spent about $500 so far to put the kits together and are hoping to extend the project to a fourth week.

They are currently looking for more than 80 pre-assembled bird houses for the children and their families to paint in the project’s fourth week.

Anyone interested in donating money or supplies can contact Danielle Mijo-Burch at

Here are some other stories about people in our community who are giving back:

Chilliwack fitness instructor caters to senior students, moves classes outside, makes them free

Chilliwack woman delivers smiles in the form of free flowers to people who need a pick-me-up


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Some of the families with their newly painted rocks. (Submitted)
Josephine Charlie assembles rock-painting kits for children and their families at the Chilliwack campus on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
The rock-painting kits are one of four art projects being given to local children and their families. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Jenna Hauck

About the Author: Jenna Hauck

I started my career at The Chilliwack Progress in 2000 as a photojournalist.
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