Growing up in Manila in Philippines, Anroe Aserson often felt helpless seeing litter and garbage on the beaches in the city. When he moved to Canada three decades ago, he was committed to do his part in keeping his adopted country free of litter — even if it meant doing his part just in his neighbourhood. “I don’t want the litter and garbage to destroy the rivers and beaches as it has done back home,” he says.
Aserson is now living up those expectations with support from his wife and the United Way of Lower Mainland, which has a program that provided individuals, businesses and organisations with funding to foster community.
The Local Love Fund makes $12,000 available to support projects that bring communities together for social good.
Anroe and his wife Nicole run the popular OCanadawg hot-dog stand in North Vancouver. They applied with UWLM to organise a unique program where they offered hot dogs for anyone who brought them a bag of litter.
They organised their first ‘hot dog for litter’ event at the Semisch Park in the city, encouraging locals and neighbours to get a hot dog for a bag of litter. The community collected plastic, broken glass, cigarettes butts, dog poop, as well as other garbage from the park.
They took in 50 bags of litter and were happy to part with 50 hot dogs in return. “The community becomes family and it becomes a part of who we are as a business owners. So, if we can help create events and peak interest through our gourmet hot dogs, smokies and sausages, well, count us in,” says Nicole Aserson.
Ivy Staker of the United Way said they started working in Lower Lonsdale in December 2018, and created the $12,000 Local Love Fund as a way to help facilitate neighbourly connections in Lower Lonsdale community.
United Way makes available a Small Spark fund that is up to $250 and a $1,000 Local Love Fund. The program should take place in Lower Lonsdale and should aim to build community. The application process is designed to be low-barrier and open to collaboration. She said United Way had received several applications and many events have already taken place, while others are being planned.
“There are still plenty of opportunities to share your ideas and receive Local Love funding. We are currently working with several residents to develop their ideas, and have already awarded funding to others including Lower Lonsdale Community Gardens who will be hosting a community gathering in their garden this July.”
Individuals can apply atwww.uwlm.ca/lolo or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if they need some help to workshop their ideas first. Meanwhile, Anroe and Nicole Aserson say they feel inspired and plan to organise more clean-up events in the community.