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Who we are

SOS is a not-for-profit, registered Canadian Charity. Since 1968, SOS has responded to the needs of individuals and families in District 69. With the support of 350 volunteers, staff, and community collaborations, SOS provides 30 programs and services to all ages, including programs that meet basic needs, as well as programs that promote healthy living and social connections. The SOS Thrift Shop is the key funder of SOS.

Please click here to watch an 8-minute video that reveals why SOS is so important to our community.


Please click here to view a 15-minute video that shows how SOS got started, how it has grown, what is offered today, and how you can get involved.


SOS Calendar 2020-2021

SOS 2021 Calendar Cover

Our Resilient Community: 2021 Commemorative Calendar

When COVID-19 forced our communities into lock-down, we had some difficult decisions to make. Our Thrift Shop was closed and revenue that has traditionally funded the majority of our programs and services, disappeared.

We had to put many programs on hold and lay off 80% of our staff. With our remaining resources, we focused our efforts on ensuring essential services would be provided to the most vulnerable in our community.

Now, as we endeavour to restart programs for children, youth, and families, we can only resume to the degree that funding allows. With ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and safety protocols in place, we know it will take time before Thrift Shop revenues will return to their pre-pandemic levels. In the meantime, we have been busy developing other vehicles for our community to show their support.

Although many of us were scared as the threat of illness, job loss and uncertainty loomed in our communities, we also noticed something wonderful happening. Residents were selflessly assisting one another with warmth and generosity. Friends, volunteers, neighbours, business owners and front-line workers were going out on a limb to ensure needs were being met.

With the help of some very talented local photographers, we decided to document the very unusual, yet incredibly inspiring summer of 2020. The images captured of front-line workers, volunteers, business owners, and residents doing what they could to get through the pandemic, have come together in a high quality calendar that celebrates our community's resiliency.

Proceeds from the sale of the calendars will help SOS continue restarting and rebuilding vital community programs and services that residents have come to rely on.

Plus, you could win a deluxe two-night stay at Tigh-Na-Mara with your calendar purchase! Every calendar has a unique number on the back, and one lucky winner will be announced on 88.5 The Beach FM on Feb. 1, 2021. Please click here for prize restrictions.

A huge THANK YOU to our sponsors who helped bring this project to fruition, and to the businesses who are selling the calendars. We couldn't have done this without you. #unityincommunity

Calendar Sponsors

TNM MainColMstr Med             CC Logo Colour H WEB          RJ Qualicum Beach Branch logo

      pharmasave logo                Quality Foods


HollisWealth Management
M&N Mattress & Sofa
Paradise Mini Golf and Fun Park
Vibrational Healing  

Please click here for a list of retail locations.



Our History

Decades of Community Building

Our History

In the summer of 1968, a call went out to community leaders throughout District 69. This call came from a number of concerned individuals whose social conscience wouldn’t allow them to ignore the plight of their neighbours. Families in need were not receiving the help they needed to overcome hardships. Was it possible to create an effective organization to help the families in District 69?

As well as basic necessities like warm coats, food, and shelter; children needed orthopedic shoes, eye glasses, hearing aids, basic dental care, speech therapy, and prescription medications. These all posed as obstacles to the childrens’ access to basic education. Young mothers needed guidance, and a temporary relief from everyday burdens; the elderly, poor, and infirm needed rides to access medical care, someone to repair a broken stair which could lead to injury, or a dripping tap, which cut into an already meager income. Shut-ins needed visitors to let them know someone cared, and to perform small services, which would improve their quality of life.

The call for community action to ease the burdens of families in need was answered. Educators, clergymen, medical professionals, government officials, law enforcement, lawyers, bankers, businessmen, and union leaders offered their time and expertise to help address local needs. In turn, caring citizens from all walks of life, from Nanoose to Bowser, and Errington to Lasqueti, joined this group to volunteer their time and expertise to the cause.

Thus emerged District 69, Society of Organized Services.

Vision, Mission & Values

Our Mission

To improve community through programming and provide a safety net for School District 69 residents.

Our Vision

A supported and inclusive community.

Our Values

  • We value all staff contributions by creating an encouraging and inspirational workplace.
  • We enhance dignity and self-empowerment when responding to the needs of the community.
  • We search for opportunities to expand our knowledge, services and programs to assist our community.
  • We seek collaboration with both individuals and organizations in District 69.
  • We gain and retain the community’s trust through responsible management of resources, programs and services.
  • We strive for excellence in delivery of programs and services.

SOS 50th Anniversary - 1968-2018

A Commemorative 50th Anniversary Book

Book Cover

SOS has an amazing story to share. After 3 years of interviews, research and pouring over our history books, we're very pleased to present this book entitled Celebrating A Caring Community. Our thanks to Neil Horner for bringing these stories to life and to Carol and Rachelle at Behind the Book for their expertise in publishing. The book is dedicated to our compassionate and dedicated volunteers and all who have helped shape SOS and establish it as the heart of the community.

It can be purchased at local Mulberry Bush Bookstores, at the SOS Thrift Shop and at SOS Community Services Centres in Parksville and Qualicum Beach. The cost is $20 (including tax) and all proceeds support SOS community programs and services.

50th Anniversary Backgrounder

Something had to be done. It was 1968 and a number of concerned citizens noticed that needs were going unmet by local school children and their families. They were also troubled that some adults and “older people” were going without basic necessities.

Some of these concerned citizens worked in the school district, and were aware that children were not getting enough nutritious food, and many were going without items such as eye glasses, orthopedic shoes, dental care, hearing aids and speech therapy, which resulted in poor progress at school.

The Society of Organized Services formed, designed to fill the gaps and “help people help themselves”.  The constitution was written stating that the Society would provide measures to alleviate the needs of disadvantaged individuals and to assist those whose needs are not being met through government agencies, service clubs, or charitable organizations.

The idea was to develop an “organized volunteer service”, seeking those “willing to give of their time and talents”. Some of the positions mentioned were home management, babysitters for young mothers, someone to sit with an elderly person, drivers to take persons to the doctor or hospital, men handy with tools to do maintenance for elderly persons among other things.”

By the end of October 1968 founder Pauline Touzeau had applied for registration with the Societies Act and a bank account was set up in Parksville with a $40 deposit. 

In November, the group received their Certificate of Incorporation under the Societies Act, and by Christmas 1968 volunteers were working to deliver the first program, the SOS Christmas program, led by “The Hamper Committee of District 69 Society of Organized Services.”

That first year 36 hampers were distributed as community members of all ages came together to lend a hand for this new and important cause.

All-in-all $475 was raised, $200 of that from collection jars placed in local businesses. About $100 was donated in food, including locally grown hazelnuts and walnuts. Local schools and churches donated goods and volunteered their time, grocery stores gave discounts, and businesses donated packing materials and other items. Residents contributed money as well as donations of food and clothing, and department stores in Nanaimo and Port Alberni also made donations.

Early in 1969, SOS launched an appeal for funds to the community, with the phrase “We try to fill the void” on advertisements in the local newspaper. On March 6, 1969, a used clothing depot called S.O.S. Thrift Shop was opened at 149 Morison Street in Parksville in order to fund the proposed programs and services.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Thrift Shop Clipping69

Charitable Number

Our Charitable Number is 107021537RR0001

Meet the SOS Board of Directors

Leadership Team

Donate Your Time or Resources

Show Me How

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Thank you for joining our SOS Family!

We are very grateful to have you with us. Thanks to compassionate people like you, SOS is meeting needs and improving the lives of our friends and neighbours in District 69. You can expect valuable emails from us on a regular basis, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Learn how SOS became the heart of our Community:


Positive Reviews:

  • Thank you for arranging a drive for my medical appointment... I really appreciate your cheerfulness...

    ~ a safely transported client

  • Not since the banquets of Nero... has such a meal been served on golden plates!

    ~ a delighted diner

  • The program was most helpful, empowering, and valuable.

    ~ a self-help participant

  • I have become more dignified and stable.

    ~ a community member enriched

  • This is the best day of my whole life.

    ~ a child's first picnic

  • Besides the hardship assistance, subsidized children's programming and vouchers... you have given us the greatest gift... respect, compassion, and dignity.

    ~ a family helped