Retired mission sign maker takes over former business to raise funds for Ukrainian refugees

A retired sign maker in Mission has gone back to his old trade to raise money for displaced Ukrainian refugees.

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Paul Mathon decided to get in on the action, while solving a problem he says is prevalent in Mission: it’s hard to see house numbers.

“I don’t like bullies and I don’t like what’s going on,” Mathon said. “The war came, and I started thinking, ‘Well, you know, maybe I can use signs (to raise money).'”

Mathon lived in Kelowna and ran a business called Eye Spy Reflective Address Signs.

He offers his services to anyone who wants black and white reflective numbers to be displayed visibly in front of their house.

He said if people couldn’t afford $20, he would even do it for free. But if they can save some money, a donation of any size would be a big help (he suggests only $20 because then it’s tax deductible via income tax receipts) .

“I’ve had people say, I don’t need your sign, but they donate anyway,” Mathon said. “It’s a worthy cause, you know, you get something for $20.”

Mathon said local house numbers are often missing, shrouded in foliage or the color blends into the house’s paint, making identification difficult for emergency responders.

He said he even asked a Mission firefighter to rate the difficulty of spotting house numbers on a scale of one to 10: the answer was seven.

The material used for the decals is salvaged from a print shop before being discarded, is smudge-proof and non-corrosive, and “will last forever,” Mathon said.

It will also wave to you if there is no convenient place for the numbers.

Mathon has been signing since June, taking breaks from volunteering with Mission Health Care Auxiliary.

He had a goal of raising $1,000 when he started; he has been able to raise $800 so far.

The money is donated to the Mennonite Culture Center (MCC), which focuses on scaling up existing programs to help vulnerable people fleeing conflict, providing psychosocial and trauma support, emergency housing and supplies like blankets , clothes and food.

Mathon said he was first inspired when he saw actor Cate Blanchett, speaking as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, speak about the desperate need emergency donations.

“It’s just a small thing,” he said. “But everyone in the picture, including the government, will have to play a role. I think that can make the difference. »

If you would like to have house numbers installed, call 236-380-4035, and Mathon will come with his van and tools and get to work.

Donations can be made by visiting the MCC website: mcccanada.ca/stories/crisis-ukraine, by sending a check to MCC British Columbia (201-33933 Gladys Avenue), or by entrusting money to Mathon.

fundraisingMissionUkraine