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Happiness kits brings smile to Cook Street fire victim

When Caitlyn Polden first received a Happiness Kit, she admits she didn't know what to expect.
Happiness kit 1
Victoria resident Caitlyn Polden (and her cat

When Caitlyn Polden first received a Happiness Kit, she admits she didn't know what to expect.

Standing in front of her was a man, whom she had never met before, saying he had a special delivery from Polden's brother, who lives in Ontario.

When she opened the neatly-wrapped blue package labelled “Happiness Kit,” she was surprised by what she saw. The kit contained a number of items including a yellow smiley-face stress ball, aromatherapy oil, chocolate and bubbles — all meant to brighten her day.

“I liked it, it was awesome,” Polden said. “I felt great, it showed that my brother was thinking about me even though he can't really help me right now.”

The Happiness Kit is part of Happiness Delivered, a project started by Royal Roads University business students Ray Schuttinga, Tristan Redman, Sylvia Goelman, Cynthia Durand-Smith and Celeste Hilton. As part of the project, customers can purchase the kits containing inspiring items, affirming quotes and notes. Students then package and deliver the kits to people in need of a smile.

Since the project launched on Jan. 28, the group has delivered 35 kits to friends, family members and co-workers around the Capital Regional District.

One of their most recent deliveries was to Polden who lost many of her belongings in fire that ripped through a Cook Street apartment were she was living with her fiance James, and cat, Bacon.

The fire broke out around 3:30 a.m. at 1021 Cook St. on Feb. 8. Polden was already awake, making breakfast before she went to work when she heard the fire alarm go off.

At first she thought it was a joke, but when it continued, she opened her door to see firefighters and tenants evacuating. Polden, who is four months pregnant, managed to wake up James, grab Bacon, purse, phone, work clothes and a jacket, before rushing out of the building.

While she was able to return to her apartment in the days after the fire that displaced 22 people, to retrieve their clothes, most of the furniture was destroyed.

“I was pretty devastated. The most expensive items I own have to be replaced now and I obviously am not in the financial position to do it, it's pretty upsetting,” Polden said.

Shortly after, the young couple moved into the Rock Bay Landing shelter, where they have been living for the past few weeks. Polden said the Happiness Kit brought her joy and a smile to her face, if only for a day.

It's reactions like Polden's that makes business student Ray Schuttinga proud of the online business.

“All these items combined create an experience for someone to give them an uplifting boost in their day, depending on if they're having a stressful day at work, or they're feeling down about something,” he said.

“It's not something that they were expecting in their day and it's nice for them to feel appreciated, loved and looked after. That's the rewarding part for us, every delivery that we head into, we know we're going to be making someone's day.”

Proceeds from the project are donated to the Kids Help Phone. For more information, visit