Lions help Kelowna’s cubs
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 16, 2020 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed
Lions Club members Tom Mackie, Erv Schmidt and John Gates present the cheque to YMCA youngsters.

The Kelowna Family YMCA was on the receiving end of a $1,500 donation last week.

The Kelowna-Rutland Lions Club visited the YMCA last Wednesday and dropped off the cheque that will go towards helping children and youth in need.

The money will make it possible for more underprivileged children, youth and families to access Y child care and other programs that will support their health, development and positively impact their lives.

The Lions support the YMCA because the two organizations share a core belief, which to serve and better their community.

One of the Lions’ key missions is to support children through scholarships, recreation and mentoring.

Office engraved on Big White
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 16, 2020 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed
The Big White Community Policing Office opened its doors in 2000.

Big White’s Community Policing Office is getting ready to celebrate its 20-year anniversary.

The facility opened its doors on March 15, 2000, in Whitefoot Lodge, and it is open every day between 1 and 4 p.m. Wayne Lyseng and his wife, Donna, have been volunteering at the office since the beginning, and they love the work they do for the Big White community.

“Since more people are now living permanently at Big White, we are getting more local volunteers involved, and they are encouraging more newcomers to get involved,” Wayne Lyseng said in a press release. “When we first started the office most of our volunteers were winter residents only. This is a very positive change.”

The office’s primary duty is to provide free engraving for ski equipment, which helps crime prevention. Equipment theft has gone down in recent years, according to Lyseng, but he said “thefts, particularly in bars, are still too high.”

The office currently has 26 volunteers, but it has had more than 100 people from all over the world, including Australia, the U.S. and England, offer their time in the facility.

The Big White Community Policing Office files theft reports with the RCMP and fields other non-emergency crime-related calls. The office also acts as a space for RCMP personnel to use as required for their duties.

“We love to be busy,” volunteer Heather Shilton said. “The positive aspect of that is for lots of people to bring their equipment to the office to be engraved.”

Big donation for health centre
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 14, 2020 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

The Health Sciences Centre at Okanagan College has received another big financial boost.

The facility, which is currently under construction, has received a $28,000 donation from the Central Okanagan Foundation. The Health Sciences Centre will educate health care assistants, nurses and therapist assistants—among others.

The Central Okanagan Foundation took the baton from the Kelowna Home Support Society Fund, which ceased operation in 1999, and has continued to raise money for similar initiatives over the years.

“The new Health Sciences Centre is a great opportunity to recognize the values of Kelowna Home Support and support a community institution that teaches the values of caring and helping people stay at home as they age,” Marliss Magas, who sat on the Kelowna Home Support Society board, said in a press release.

“We see community care becoming increasingly asked for, and we’re excited to have a new centre that can raise the profile of meaningful careers in this area.”

The new Health Sciences Centre will feature a new home care lab that will give students an opportunity to practise supporting someone in a home environment.

The B.C. government is funding $15.4 million of the new $18.9-million centre.

RibFest donates meaty amount
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 13, 2020 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed
Rotarians Chris Murphy (left) and Andy Griffin (right) present a cheque to JoeAnna’s House representative Darlene Haslock.

RibFest not only brings the meat.

It brings in the cash, too.

The fourth annual event, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Kelowna Sunrise, raised approximately $80,000 for local charities in 2019. The money came primarily from sponsorships, the beverage garden and the raffle that ran concurrently with the festival.

“The funds raised during Sunrise Rotary RibFest allow us to help local organizations,” president Susan McIntyre said in a press release. “Together we work to make Kelowna a stronger community. There is so much need that we need to raise even more funds in 2020.”

JoeAnna’s House, a facility for families who have loved ones staying at Kelowna General Hospital, has received more than $40,000 of the proceeds from the first four years of the event, including $10,000 in 2019. Since JoeAnna’s House opened two months ago ahead of schedule and under budget, the Kelowna Sunrise Rotarians will soon be announcing its next major benefactor.

The event made headlines in November when protesters chained themselves together in front of Interior Savings, a RibFest sponsor, to protest the company’s support of an event that “destroys our environment and supports farms that have been proven to conduct criminal animal cruelty.”

The other benefactors from this year’s RibFest were:

• Freedom’s Door, a non-profit addiction recovery program for men in the Okanagan that received $23,685 towards its Next Steps program and the repair of a roof.
• Pathways Abilities, which got $10,000.
• Hope for the Nation, which collected $9,025 for its Food for Thought program.
• The Kelowna Women’s Shelter, which received $600 to help host a Christmas dinner and celebration for its clients. Rotarians also provided in kind donations, and prepared and served the meals as well.
• The local chapter of Meals on Wheels, which was gifted $5,000 to purchase food for the meals that the organization distributes to seniors.
• NOW Canada, which used $1,500 to help create a Christmas celebration and provide gifts for the women and their children in their system.
• Connect Counselling and Therapy Society, which received $2,000 for a twice-a-year anxiety counselling program for youth between six and 12 years of age.
• The Opera Kelowna Society, which got $1,250 to fund an additional student scholarship.
• Studio 9 Independent Art School, which was on the receiving end of $1,500 that will be used to purchase a folding stage.

Drink wine, help Australia
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 09, 2020 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

The Australian bushfires have hit home with Little Farm Winery co-owner Rhys Pender, who hails from the continent.

So the Cawston winery is doing what it can to help. Little Farm is putting together some mixed cases of wine to sell, and all proceeds will go to the firefighting efforts and ensuing recovery.

Pender has seen Australian fires up close, as half the homes on the Canberra street he grew up on burned in 2003.

Little Farm’s goal is to sell five cases of wine for $400 each, with all proceeds going to the Wires Wildlife Emergency Appeal. The price includes shipping to your home or office. Anyone interested can send a direct message or email to [email protected]

Here is the list of wines that can be found in each case:

• 2016 Mulberry Tree Vineyard Riesling x 2
• 2016 Mulberry Tree Vineyard Chardonnay
• 2018 Rosé x 2
• 2016 Riesling Pied de Cuve x 2
• 2016 Chardonnay Pied de Cuve
• 2016 New-is Oak Chardonnay
• 2017 Pied de Cuve Orange
• 2015 Mulberry Tree Vineyard Riesling (library wine)
• 2015 Mulberry Tree Vineyard Chardonnay (library wine)

Winery helps women in need
Colin Dacre - Jan 08, 2020 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed
SOWINS executive director Debbie Scarborough (left) accepts the cheque from Monster Wines’ Jana Lemes.

A Penticton winery has made a significant donation to the South Okanagan Women in Need Society.

Monster Vineyards, sister winery to Poplar Grove, donates 100 per cent of the tasting fees collected by its wine shop to charity every year.

“We believe strongly in supporting our local charities to provide a support system to our local residents,” tasting room manager Jana Lemes said.

Tasting fees this season reached $7,500, which was recently presented to SOWINS executive director Debbie Scarborough.

A Gathering for local hall
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 07, 2020 - Get Involved

File photo: Kirk Penton

East Kelowna Hall has been a fixture in that part of the community for more than eight decades.

Next month stewards of the facility will be holding a fundraising dinner and dance—called The Gathering—with the intention of keeping the facility open and flourishing for years to come.

The night of food and entertainment will be held on Saturday, Feb. 8. Tickets are $110 for the dinner, entertainment and dance, and $40 for the dance only.

“With its historic charm, it’s been a gathering place providing community connection for people of all ages and diversities,” event organizer Kathy Sawchuk said in a press release. “Its historical value alone is of key importance for the preservation of this building.”

Chef Scott Nystrom of Edible Wellness will provide the long table feast, for which there will be 80 tickets available. Local magician Leif David will provide the entertainment during dinner, Kinshira Performance Troupe will perform, and comedian Velina Taskov will serve as host. There will also be a live art painting by Jaide Fox Bateman that will be auctioned off at the event.

More information about The Gathering can be found here.

Diamonds bring big bucks
Miriam Halpenny - Jan 07, 2020 - Get Involved

Premier Jewellery and Loans, along with Castanet, is celebrating the success of this year’s diamond earring fundraiser, which benefits the Kelowna Women’s Shelter.

This year, a pair of 14-carat white gold, halo-design earrings were auctioned off at $7,050.50, beating last year’s record of $7,000.

“We had a fantastic result,” Premier Jewellery and Loans owner Martin Strasser said. “We want to say thank you to everybody who participated. I know the owner of the earrings is really happy with them.”

Premier has now donated more than $25,000 to the Kelowna Women’s Shelter over the last four years, during the charitable auctions.

“I was really amazed and really overwhelmed by the donation that was received through the auction,” said Debby Hamilton with the Women’s Shelter.

“It’s going to be so helpful to women who are staying at the women’s shelter and also to women who are living with abuse or leaving abuse.”

The donation will support the shelter in providing counselling services, incidentals and gift cards for women who require assistance with fuel or groceries.

Teens rides to rescue
Sarita Patel - Jan 06, 2020 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

A Kelowna tween is hoping to help a family in need with an experience they’ll not soon forget.

Emma Hawkins was hoping to volunteer at the Give Kids The World Village with her dad and the DisDads Club during their annual convention in January, but she was too young. The minimum age to volunteer is 12, and Hawkins is only 11 during their visit to Orlando this week.

That’s when she decided to come up with her own fundraising idea.

Today Hawkins, along with DisDads Club’s official mascot, Mr. Penguin, will attempt to ride every ride in Walt Disney World in one single day.

The All Ride Challenge Day is when a person sets out to enjoy all the rides across all four theme parks at Disney World. There were expected to be 46 to 49 rides open when Hawkins attempted the challenge.

Hawkins aims to raise $6,000, which is what it costs to send one family to Give Kids The World Village.

Give Kids The World Village is a storybook themed resort in Florida where critically ill children and their families stay for a week at no cost to themselves. More than 100 different charities from around the world utilize their services and Give Kids The World Village is fully dependent on volunteers and fundraising.

The Aquajet swimmer had raised half of her fundraising goal as of Sunday.

You can follow Hawkins’ and Mr. Penguin’s journey on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

Hear, hear! NexGen helps out
Okanagan Edge Staff - Dec 30, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed
Galen Casey, left, received a set of premium hearing aids from Tom Millar of NexGen Hearing West Kelowna.

A West Kelowna resident new to Canada will be able to hear the sounds of the Okanagan in 2020 and beyond.

NexGen Hearing donated a pair of hearing aids earlier this month to Galen Casey, who visited the company’s West Kelowna location earlier this month but couldn’t acquire much-needed hearing aids since he didn’t have health insurance. Casey’s hearing loss was so severe that he was a potential surgical candidate, but it would be years before the procedure could be performed.

Sensing no other quick solution to the situation, NexGen Hearing West Kelowna clinic owner Tom Millar reached out to his suppliers. Oticon Canada stepped up and donated a pair of premium hearing aids worth more than $5,000.

“This unexpected gift will change my life, because it will improve the connection with my girlfriend’s children, new friends in a meaningful way and especially my girlfriend,” Casey said. “I will now be able to get out and meet new people, which I haven’t been able to do in a long time. I’m a musician, and I’m really looking forward to hearing my guitar again.”

Millar often gives away refurbished hearing aids and provides free service to those in need throughout the year. He was more than happy to help out Casey.

“Galen was in a unique situation that needed an immediate solution,” Millar said. “Often, there is no option for surgery to correct hearing loss on short notice, and without health insurance coverage, hearing aids would be a very costly expense.

“I get the most joy from watching my client’s faces light up when they can hear again. It is so rewarding.”

NexGen offers a free hearing test for anyone who needs it. You can schedule an appointment here.

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