A catching idea for charity

Marylou Kirstein with some of the sun catchers she has made that will be up for grabs in the Peace Arch Hospital lobby Dec. 11 and 14, as a fundraiser. - Tracy Holmes photo
Marylou Kirstein with some of the sun catchers she has made that will be up for grabs in the Peace Arch Hospital lobby Dec. 11 and 14, as a fundraiser.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photo

An eye-catching effort to raise money for the Peace Arch Hospital – the sale of sun catchers made from chandelier crystals – is returning to the facility’s lobby today (Tuesday) and Friday.

And this year, it’s got an international sparkle.

“I got four from Portugal… from a monk that was selling crystals in a market,” explained Marylou Kirstein, a longtime member of the Peace Arch Hospital Auxiliary. “One’s yellow – you don’t ever find a yellow crystal.

“The rainbows that come off them are unbelievable.”

Kirstein is in her fourth year of selling the baubles for the hospital’s benefit. She crafts the majority of them from crystals salvaged from discarded light fixtures – many of which are turned in to the auxiliary’s Superfluity thrift shop – adding glass or wooden beads, Swarovski crystals and other trinkets for a special touch.

No two sun catchers are alike, and Kirstein does her best to create a variety in the hopes there will be something for everyone.

“Some are gawdy, and some are conservative; some are funky and some are not,” she said.

In past years, those who buy the pieces typically do so as a gift, Kirstein said. She knows some have gone to care homes, purchased by people aiming to add rainbows to the recipients’ days.

“They add joy,” she said. “And it’s a little bit of history because most of these (crystals) are old.”

In the last three years, sale of the sun catchers has raised about $4,000 for the hospital, with more than half of the total – $2,200 – raised last year alone.

“There were lineups of people. It was amazing,” Kirstein said of the interest.

She is hopeful the 160 of the keepsakes that she made over the summer will draw similar interest this week, and pledged to continue crafting the sparkly pieces “as long as the market is there.”

“All I want to do is just make money for the hospital,” she said.


The sale is set for just three hours – from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – on Dec. 11 and 14, and prices range from $8 to $35. All proceeds will benefit PAH.



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