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Young Saanich photographer raises $500 for Victoria Humane Society

Charlotte Steele printed, sold greeting cards

The critters at the Victoria Humane Society got a hand up from a crafty young Saanich resident this fall.

On Oct. 25, seven-year-old Charlotte Steele – joined by mom, Rebecca, and brother, Sawyer – stopped by the Victoria Humane Society to drop off $500 she raised selling greeting cards featuring her nature photography.

Charlotte, a second-grader at Glenlyon Norfolk School, is no stranger to fundraising – she collected $65 selling bookmarks for Cops for Cancer in 2019 – and decided to raise money for local animals using her artwork.

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The COVID-19 pandemic kept the youngster close to home over the summer and Steele spent time taking photos of flowers in the neighbourhood with her grandmother.

“Granny Annie was teaching me the names of them,” she said proudly.

The pair then printed a book of the floral photos and Charlotte got to work learning to identify each of the plants. Charlotte then decided to make greeting cards.

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Once Steele received her stack of cards, her mom asked what she’d like to raise money for.

“She told me the different choices and I really thought the Humane Society did something really good,” Charlotte said, adding that she loves animals – especially ponies.

Rebecca posted a photo of her daughter holding all the cards to Facebook with the prices – six cards for $10.

“We made 10 [packs] for the first round and they were all gone in an hour,” Rebecca said. A waitlist quickly formed so they ordered 120 more.

Charlotte sold more to teachers at school and neighbours – and a family friend, John Watts of Watts Plumbing and Drains, matched her sales bringing the total to $500.

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While dropping off the money, Charlotte got to snuggle a trio of kittens at the shelter. Staff posted about her donation on the organization’s Facebook page calling her “a shining example of kindness that lets us know that the animal rescue world will be in good hands.”

Charlotte received several more orders and decided to a final print – enough for her customers and some extra for keepsakes. Bringing money to the shelter made Charlotte feel good and Rebecca noted that the donation was extra special because the Victoria Humane Society has struggled to fundraise during the pandemic.

Charlotte plans to take a break before her next fundraiser but to other youngsters who’d like to raise money for a cause, she says to “choose something you enjoy doing because otherwise, it could get frustrating.”

“Each year so far she’s come up with something new so we’ll see what she does next year,” Rebecca said. “I said to her ‘if you were raising $65 when you were six and now it’s already gone up to $500 when you’re seven, what are you going to be raising by the time you’re 20?’”

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