Vancouver Island driftwood hobbyist Brian Mayenburg knows what it feels like to be hungry.

When Mayenburg was a kid, he and his brothers used to raid neighbourhood gardens just so they could eat.

“We’d have to wait until night to go garden raiding, and then you feel bad because you’re raiding people’s gardens so then I would go back and help some older people in the neighbourhood with their gardens,” he said.

“I felt bad and then I’d be helping them out.”

He also remembers Christmases when people would bring food to the family.

Mayenburg says these childhood memories motivated him to raffle off his homemade driftwood benches and chairs for the Comox Valley Food Bank Society.

“I grew up on welfare and remember being hungry now and then, so I’ve always had a passion to raise money for the food bank because I think they’re amazing,” he said. “They helped me out back in the day, and plus I love making driftwood furniture and the garage is getting full, so I figure if I can donate some stuff and make some money (for the food bank), it’s a win/win thing.”  

He has set up a GoFundMe page, ‘Driftwood Bench Raffle for CV Foodbank Donations’, and has driftwood benches and chairs to raffle off every two weeks, to anyone who makes a donation. 

No matter what the amount, anyone who donates to the page is eligible to enter.

Draws happen every two weeks.  The first one will be next Friday.

“So far I have five benches and expect to build at least another two,” Mayenburg said. 

You can link to the GoFundMe here.

He’s willing to deliver within 100 kilometres of the valley.

Decades old hobby

Mayenburg says he’s been building driftwood furniture for around 20 years.

“My wife loves walking around the beach, collecting beach glass and I’d be picking up sticks and bringing them home and it kind of took off from there.”

He used to work at St. Joseph’s Hospital and would put out hand-made benches to raise money for the cancer care unit or YANA or individuals in the community that needed help.

“It’s been a few years I’ve been doing this, so I just enjoy doing it.”

This is his first shot at doing a GoFundMe page.

“I’ve been trying to get it going for the last couple of months but as of last week kind of got it up and running.”