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Second annual inclusion Powell River tea sales fundraiser targets help for families

“I love working with the inclusion team and am thrilled to be able to support such a wonderful organization." ~ Urban Earth Teas and Wellness founder Mara Jones
Heather Thrasher, inclusion Powell River employee [left] and Mara Jones from Urban Earth Teas and Wellness are ready for a second fundraising campaign.

There’s nothing as soothing as a cup of tea, especially when the InclusiviTEA has been specifically blended for an organization that assists families and individuals who need extra support.

That support has been provided by inclusion Powell River (iPR), a nonprofit, charitable organization, since1954.

No one knows better than Heather Thrasher the difference that the Wish Fund makes for families she serves as a key worker for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and Complex Developmental Behavioural Conditions.

“Our Wish Fund helps them travel for assessments by supplying financial support not covered by other programs or resources,” says Thrasher. “There is a three- to five-year wait for publicly financed assessments so families sometimes choose to access private assessments which they pay for, but there are other costs associated with that such as travel, meals and accommodation.”

Director of child and family services Ocean Van Samang agrees. Unlike parents on Vancouver Island and the Vancouver area, parents in Powell River face additional financial challenges in accessing help for their children.

“We can alleviate the burden of travel when living in a remote community like ours; costs residents in other places don’t have to bear in addition to the thousands of dollars for private assessments that can take a full day or two days to complete,” explains Van Samang.

This is the second year that Mara Jones, founder of Urban Earth Teas and Wellness, has been involved with the Wish Fund fundraiser. Last year she and iPR representatives talked about the feeling and taste they wanted for the specially branded tea.

“I also brought in the colours of iPR’s brand for this tea that is unique to them, and sales were very successful,” says Mara, who has been blending teas since 2004.

She sources her certified organic ingredients from suppliers who import them from around the world.

“I love working with the inclusion team and am thrilled to be able to support such a wonderful organization,” she adds.

In the past year, the Wish Fund has given out $4,300 to individuals and families so they can access services and receive supports that are not covered by other funding. Now is the time to replenish the fund with the second annual InclusiviTEA fundraiser, says Van Samang.

One of the youths who iPR supports received a refurbished bicycle through the Wish Fund so he has reliable transportation to his activities and job. Other clients have applied to the Wish Fund for help travelling to keep connected with family members in other communities.

Van Samang also talked about a family whose child was undergoing heart surgery so they stayed in a special residential facility. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, no family meals were provided so they were eating canned soup and containers of noodles. Through the Wish Fund they were able to have a few good meals provided.

“It’s a difficult time for parents who end up missing work to be with their children who have significant medical issues,” explains Van Samang. “Sometimes when there are siblings who are not allowed to go to appointments, both parents are off work. There is a huge impact on their quality of life during a difficult time. It is quite stunning how difficult it is to get needs met.”

Thrasher says she is constantly navigating the unique needs of the families being served. She adds that the Wish Fund, which only goes to support local families, is “amazing, so special and touches so many people.”

Tea orders can be placed through the website at

And there is a Donate Now button so people can donate any amount in addition to ordering InclusiviTEA.