Piers Island, just off the tip of the Peninsula, is home to about 80 people in the winter, but they make a heck of a potluck dinner.
Each year, for about eight years now, residents gather at the fire hall for a community Christmas dinner. Favourite foods are passed around, wine sipped and decorations auctioned off.
“It’s grown. This year we made $5,256,” said islander Bob Crooks. “This has been growing considerably. I think last year we were at $4,200.”
About a quarter of the funds raised went to the Mount Newton Centre medical equipment loan service and the balance to the Sidney Lions Food Bank.
Donors chose between two charities and an anonymous donor matched the money raised, bringing the total to more than $10,400.
Though the island near the Swartz Bay ferry terminal is highly populated in the summer months, come winter the population drops to about 80 residents. The impressive fundraising was the work of about 40 households.
Piers Island was the site of a special penitentiary where more than 600 Sons of Freedom were imprisoned from 1932 to 1935. Accessible only by private boat, the island still has no stores or other amenities, except a volunteer fire department and fire hall.