198.5 Thousand Cans and Counting…

With his signature grin, Al Ruff states to me, “It’s not like work. It’s just such a blessing to us!” He’s telling me about the work done by himself and his wife, Gay, to raise funds for numerous children’s charities—up to 15 or so! This is all done through their 3 fundraising endeavours: Al’s “Kans for Kids”, his “By the Sea Beachwood Creations”, and Gay’s, “Ruff Creations LOL (Labour of Love) Knitting”. And, all this is done in their retirement years! I recently spoke with Al about their fundraising endeavours. I thought I knew a little about their work but I was still amazed by what I heard!

Here are a few stats on “Kans for Kids” to chew on… He has been doing this work since 2014 (4 years to date). He puts in about 8 hours per week on it. Last year (2017), he picked up and recycled 68 thousand cans/bottles. In the 4 years that he has been doing it, he estimates that he has turned in 198.5 thousand items… WOW! Six months ago, he picked up a cheap old truck in order to use it to haul the cans and bottles. That way he saved his own van from getting smelly from hauling the cans. As he tells me with a laugh though, he has lost his sense of smell, so it doesn’t really bother him too much, but it does help keep his van in better condition. However, the truck just died. He and his son, Brad, will try to see if they can restore it to life. If not, it has to go to the wreckers. Al has used the truck to pick up the cans from people who know about his work and phone him when they have a bag or a load of cans for him. He has a list of more than 50 people that he picks up from on a regular basis. If you live in Campbell River, BC, and would like to be part of this ministry by donating your cans or bottles, just give Al a call at 250-923-8431 or email him at alruff33@gmail.com and he’ll swing by when you are ready to donate.
However, Kans for Kids is not the Ruff’s biggest money-maker. One of Gay’s creations, her wool dryer balls, outperforms it by far. Gay sells them locally in Campbell River, but also has people who keep them on hand and sell them for her in Courtenay and Victoria. If you live close to one of those communities, check them out. They are undeniably awesome! As she tells me, and I can vouch for her, you will never again need to use fabric softener sheets, plus they reduce the time that your clothes take to dry–and thus reduce your hydro bill. They are made from 100% sustainable Canadian wool, are colourfast and soften your clothes. Check out the photos of them below. They come in a rainbow of colors that are a delight to the eye.
Gay’s other knitting creations are also works of art. She’s a very talented and imaginative knitter. As she states on her Facebook page, “Love what I do and love being creative! I have been so blessed to give back!” She makes a variety of knitted items: little booties, infinity scarves, boot cuffs, cowls and a variety of hats (slouchies, messy bun hats, chunky cabled toques…the list goes on). She will even knit hats for teams in their team colors. And all the hats are “knit with love and attention to detail.” Take a look below at some of  her creations, then contact her for your order! It’s just so great knowing when you place your order that all the profit goes to help kids in need. Check out her FB page, Gay Ruff, or give her a call at 250-923-8431. She’ll probably ask you to drop by their house to see what she has on hand. And, don’t be surprised if you end up staying for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.
And finally, the third fundraiser that they do is Al’s “By the Sea Beachwood Creations”. He has a Facebook page where you can take a look at what he creates out of the reclaimed wood that he collects. Their hometown, Campbell River, British Columbia, borders the Straight of Georgia, so driftwood of all types regularly washes up onto the nearby beaches. Al collects some of this and makes creations from it. From picture frames, to coat racks to full size bed frames, nothing seems to be beyond his capability. Check out the photos of his original works of art below.
Ngorika Children’s Home (NCH) is one of the children’s charities that has benefitted from the Ruff’s labours of love.  Our kids at NCH have been blessed by their hard work and generosity. On behalf of the board of Ngorika Children’s Home, I would like to publicly thank Al & Gay for their generosity. Al & Gay, we are so very grateful that you have supported our kids. May you both be abundantly blessed for the work that you do!