Zara Kinash was driving down South Main Street in Penticton recently when she saw a woman her age sleeping on a bed of small jagged rocks on the side of the road.
Cars zoomed past the woman as if she weren’t even there, and Zara might have done the same—she had her toddler with her and a trunk full of groceries to get in the fridge—until something tugged at her heart and told her to stop.
“I was feeling both absolute gratitude for all that I have and utter helplessness for this young woman,” Zara says.
She decided to turn around a block later and parked as close to the woman as she could. Since there was a fence separating them, Zara simply threw a bag of food and drinks over to the woman. The woman awoke with a start and immediately said in the most genuine voice, ‘Thank you,’ Zara says.
Shortly after Zara and her husband Taras were discussing how they could give back to the community this winter when the idea of the KIN KIT was born.
Taras, Zara and their two children, who are known as the KIN Family, own and operate Kinash Real Estate Group in Penticton, and they are currently in the midst of a drive to create 100 KIN KITs, which are winter survival kits for those in need.
“As it’s starting to get really cold outside, I can’t help but think about all the people without heat, without homes, without family,” Zara says. “Our family works directly in the buying, selling, designing and developing of homes. Our logo literally has a roof over our name, and so the polarity with those less fortunate is not lost on us, especially at this time of year.”
The issue is near and dear to the KIN Family because they, too, know what it’s like to struggle. Taras came to Canada from England on a student visa when he was studying his masters in architecture at UBC in Vancouver, and he learned—while Zara was pregnant with their first child—that he couldn’t legally work for another year. They struggled mightily. They often didn’t know how they would put food on the table. They lived for free thanks to help from their friends and heated their home with a wood burning stove.
“Our financial burden created so much stress for us that we fell into deep depression, and that is how easily and quickly the downward spiral can happen when you are in poverty,” Zara says. “Fast forward five years, and we are so grateful for our life and the opportunity to give back, which is why I am sharing our story and why we have launched the KIN KIT with the help of the community.”
The KIN Family has placed its KIN KIT donation jars at locations throughout the South Okanagan, including Cobs Bread, Nuvista Chiropractic and Wellness, Beadz, Nautical Dog Cafe, Art Up Studios, Ogo’s Ice Cream, BeeLong Gallery + Studios, Busy Beans Play Cafe, Something Pretty Boutique, Pure Gym & Juicery, Gratify, Penticton Art Gallery, Balance School of Performing Arts and Naramata Elementary.
They are asking the public to donate any amount they can towards the creation of 100 KIN KITS. Each kit will include at least the following: heat packs, fleece lined hats, socks, gloves, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, lip balm and a protein bar.
Thanks to the Penticton Dental Centre, 100 toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste have all been donated, as well as 100 tasty protein (meal replacement) bars from Isagenix executive Courtney Bouchard. They have also received generous donations from Nuvista Chiropractic & Wellness and DT Fire Protection.
The KIN Family has organized a kit assembly party on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. at the Nautical Dog Cafe, and everyone is welcome to attend. There will be an “I LOVE YOU” art heart in each kit, and they will be coloured in during the assembly party.
“The KIN KIT is that hand reaching out and showing those in need some humanity, showing them someone cares,” Zara says. “We don’t know their stories, but everyone has one just like we have one, and their stories are likely a lot harder to tell and a lot harder to heal from than ours.
“And we may not be able to put a roof over everyone’s head the way our friends did for us, but we hope we can show some compassion and help keep them a little warmer this winter.”
The fundraiser runs until Nov. 7, and following the KIN KIT assembly party on Nov. 10 the kits will be distributed to those in need through different outreach services.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.
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