Mental health ride coming soon
Rob Gibson - May 26, 2023 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

One of Kelowna’s largest fundraisers for mental health is coming back this June.

The Thomas Allen Budd Foundation’s Payton and Dillon Budd Memorial Ride has been raising funds for mental health for the past 10 years.

The ride is scheduled for June 11, and in honour of the 10th anniversary a new 100-kilometre route has been added and the 50-kilometre route has been updated.

Over the past decade, thousands of riders have taken part in the event, helping to shine a light on how mental health issues impact everyone.

The money raised at The Payton and Dillon Budd Memorial Ride helps fund CMHA Kelowna’s wide range of programs available for people of all ages.

“In the past decade we have seen the stigma around mental health, mental illness and suicide begin to decrease, which is a good thing,” CMHA Kelowna CEO Mike Gawliuk said. “What it also means is that there are more people recognizing that they, or a loved one, needs help and so each year we see an increase in the number of people asking for services and supports.”

The fundraising event has something for everyone, including 25-kilometre and 7.5-kilometre biking routes and the six-kilometre walking route. New this year is a post-ride event at Sutherland Bay Park, which includes performances from Scotty Berg, Jeff Piattelli and Conroy Lee Ross. BNA restaurant will be offering burgers along with other food vendors who will also be taking part.

“At its core, this ride is about community,” Gawliuk said. “The Payton and Dillon Budd Memorial Ride is a chance to come together and show each other what a mentally healthy community can look like.”

For more information on the event or to register click here.

Bottle drive will build homes
Okanagan Edge Staff - May 25, 2023 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Organize all your refundable containers and take them to the Habitat ReStores in Kelowna or in West Kelowna this weekend.

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan has been working since 2020 to raise funds and build homes for 12 local families, and its January and early spring bottle drives have already topped the $10,000 mark.

Now it will be conducting another bottle drive this Saturday (May 27) at its Habitat ReStores.

“We are hopeful we can reach another $10,000 with the help of the community,” Habitat resource development director Danielle Smith said in a press release.

Habitat has already constructed eight of the 12 homes it originally intended to build in Lake Country, and this weekend’s bottle drive will help it complete that mission.

“Not only is it one of the easiest ways to help our environment, but the refundable containers you donate this Saturday can help give a hand up to another four local families and their children still waiting for their homes to be built,” Smith said.

The Habitat ReStores are located at 2092 Enterprise Way in Kelowna and in 1793 Ross Rd. in West Kelowna. Simply drop off your refundable containers between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at either location.

Eagles donations fly high
Casey Richardson - May 24, 2023 - Get Involved

Photo: Fraternal Order of Eagles Penticton

The Fraternal Order of the Eagles’ Penticton chapter handed out a generous amount of donations to local charities in need this past year, totalling over $40,000.

Some notable donations included $2,000 to South Okanagan Children’s Charity, $7,826 to Penticton Speedway Foundation, $500 to Penticton Robotics Club and $1,000 to the Starfish Pack Program.

Other donations were made throughout the year by the group.

Everything raised by FOE goes directly to grants that help all kinds of worthwhile charities, memorial foundations and the Golden Eagle Fund. While larger events help bring in funds, the weekly specials are a fun way to help give back.

“Fridays we have a $10.50 dine-in or take-out dinner from 5-7 p.m., Saturdays we have burgers that start at $4.00 from 12-4 p.m., the first Sunday of every month, there is breakfast with an assorted breakfast menu items also from $3.50 from 8-11 a.m., and Sunday night we have meat draws with a 4 p.m. start, every week,” the Eagles said in a press release.

Penticton will be hosting the BC Fraternal Order of Eagles Convention on June 7-10, when they will be recognizing the hard work their aeries and auxiliaries have done for raising money locally and provincially.

Delegates from across the province and neighbours south like Washington, Oregon and special representatives from the national organization will also be in attendance.

The Eagles is a non-profit organization, with nearly 800,000 members in the U.S. and Canada. Based on the motto of “People Helping People,” with more than 1,500 local branches it works around the clock to raise funds for local charities.

Longtime volunteer gets praise
Jon Manchester - May 24, 2023 - Get Involved

Photo: Abbeyfield House

A longtime Vernon volunteer has been awarded for her dedication.

Judy Maile was recently given an Abbeyfield Champion Award for her years of volunteer work on behalf of the non-profit seniors housing organization.

Recipients are selected by Abbeyfield Canada board members in recognition of volunteers who have made a huge contribution toward fundraising and commitment to the Abbeyfield movement.

Abbeyfield offers safe, affordable housing for seniors at 19 locations from Ontario to Vancouver Island, including Vernon.

Maile joined the Vernon Abbeyfield House board in 2009 and has served as president, treasurer, secretary as well as house manager and resident intake/exit manager.

“She has helped keep the house in tip-top shape and has organized many fundraising events. She has also served on the Abbeyfield Canada board and the communications committee and has supported the Orchard City House in Kelowna as a board member,” the organization said in a press release.

“Abbeyfield Vernon is thrilled to see Judy honoured with this award, as she is one of the most compassionate, caring and hard-working volunteers I have ever seen,” Vernon House president Nicole Kohnert said.

“We have always been able to rely on her to step up and manage issues with self-assurance, care and attention to detail, even after hours of looking after her family and doing other volunteer work. She is a dream board member and most deserving of this award.”

Spelling bee for Project Literacy
Madison Erhardt - May 23, 2023 - Get Involved

Photo: Pushor Mitchell

An adult spelling bee will be raising money to support Project Literacy.

Now in its fourth year, Project Literacy’s adult team spelling bee fundraiser raises money for community literacy programs. The event will take place this Thursday (May 25) at Coast Capri Hotel.

The spelling bee will consist three rounds of five words each. This year, up to 10 teams will be competing for the Team Spelling Bee trophy.

“We are pleased to be the presenting sponsor for this year’s spelling bee in support of Project Literacy,” Pushor Mitchell managing partner Joni Metherell said in a press release.

“We recognize the valuable work that Project Literacy does in our community. We know that enhancing literacy skills has a lasting and positive impact on people’s personal and professional lives.”

Last year’s winning team was ‘U-Bee-Seeing Us Winning’ from UBCO.

According to Statistics Canada, 45% of British Columbians aged 16 to 65 have difficulty in accomplishing some daily living tasks due in part to limited literacy skills.

Project Literacy Central Okanagan Society was founded in 1986 and is a registered charity. The charity provides literacy support for adults, refugees, immigrant families, children and seniors.

Humane Society fundraiser on tap
Contributed - May 16, 2023 - Get Involved

Photo: Okanagan Humane Society

Okanagan Humane Society, a charity devoted to animal welfare since 1996, is inviting the public to learn more about their crucial work in the region.

“This charity began more than 26 years ago on a mandate of spaying and neutering to help end the suffering of our local animals and be a part of the solution to pet overpopulation,” says Romany Runnalls, the volunteer president of OHS’s board of directors.

OHS’s work is multifaceted, involving the rescue of feral and homeless cats and kittens, emergency medical aid for lost and stray animals, and support for pet owners with financial barriers. Additionally, the charity offers a safe haven for animals and assists in reuniting lost pets with their owners.

Since its establishment, OHS has spayed or neutered over 25,000 animals. In the previous year alone, the charity helped more than 1,500 animals through their rescue and medical assistance programs.

The organization’s services span from Osoyoos to the Shuswap, with a dedicated team of volunteer foster caregivers able to support up to 200 animals at any given time.

“In 2022, we saw a 42% increase in our rescue program, a 16 per cent increase in our medical or pet assistance program and a 31 per cent increase in adoptions,” she said.

On June 3, OHS will host an event at Kelowna Yacht Club, offering an opportunity for the community to hear inspiring rescue stories and meet the animals themselves.

“We have a great night planned that we are calling Get Hooked on OHS,” fund development advisor Marni Adams said. “There will be wine and canapes, some fantastic guest speakers, amazing stories of rescue from our community but the stars of the show will definitely be the animals.”

Among the guest speakers is Taylor Koch, who will share his personal experience of rescuing a mother cat and her kittens from a waste facility. Koch adopted the last rescued kitten, which he saved from the facility’s hazardous environment.

This year’s event will also feature a Kitten Kissing Booth to ensure plenty of animal interaction.

Tickets are limited and selling quickly. Those interested can purchase tickets at or contact Adams at [email protected].

DVA fundraiser seeks artists
Jon Manchester - May 15, 2023 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Downtown Vernon Association’s artisan chair project is back for another summer.

DVA is putting out a call to local artists to paint Adirondack chairs that will be a colourful feature on the 2900 Plaza.

The 2900 block closure will return for July and August, with activities, entertainment, picnic tables and more spilling out onto 30th Avenue.

The unique creations will ultimately be auctioned off, with proceeds going back to the artist.

Once artist selections are made, the DVA will provide the chair.

Artists “will need to assemble, paint and weather-proof the chair with the understanding that it will be used regularly and outside for two months,” the DVA said in a press release.

“We treat them with great care, because not only are they a wonderful, unique piece of art, at the end of August, beginning of September, we will hold an online auction, with all the proceeds from the chairs going straight back to the artist,” DVA’s Peter Kaz said.

More than $3,100 was raised in the auction last year.

Interested artists should email [email protected].

Chairs must be complete by June 23.

Realtor fundraising challenge
Okanagan Edge Staff - May 09, 2023 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed
Darcy Nyrose

They may work for competing brokerages, but three Kelowna real estate agents are coming together for the good of community and are calling on others in their industry to help them out.

Darcy Nyrose and Shaun Everest of RE/MAX Kelowna and Darryl Reuter of Royal LePage Kelowna have created the Okanagan Realtors Fundraising Initiative, which will raise money for KGH Foundation Day of Giving on May 17.

“There’s over a thousand real estate agents in our local area,” Nyrose said in a press release. “Imagine if just 500 of us gave $50; as an industry we would collectively raise $25,000.

“The KGH Foundation has a fundraising platform that will allow us to track our industry giving with a cumulative total, all on the same page.”

Nyrose, Reuter and Everest are looking to challenge every agent they’ve done a deal with in the past year to donate a minimum of $50 and then to continue challenging their colleagues and industry peers.

“We’re an awesome industry, and I know we can do this,” Nyrose said, “especially if some of the agents and teams in the area create their own fundraising pages under our initiative.

“It’s time for us to set aside our day-to-day deal negotiations and make a donation that will save the lives of our clients, their family members and those in our community.”

Okanagan Realtors who want to set up their own fundraising page can do so here.

Tasty treats help feed kids
Colin Dacre - May 02, 2023 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

It’s Smile Cookie Week across Canada at Tim Hortons.

In Kelowna, the fundraiser will be going to help the YMCA of Southern Interior BC feed local children.

Last year the campaign raised $15 million for charities across the country. Taking place from May 1 to 7, the full amount of each Smile Cookie sold in Kelowna Tim Hortons restaurants will go to the YMCA.

Since 2013, Tim Hortons restaurants in Kelowna have been supporting the Y’s Healthy Snack Program through their Smile Cookie campaign. The donation ensures more than 600 children participating in Y preschool or out-of-school care programs will receive nutritious snacks every day.

“Our team members are excited to continue working with our local charity partner, the YMCA of Southern Interior BC, to raise as much as possible to support their child care programs,” local Tim Hortons owners Travis and Lori Olsvik said in a press release.

“We challenge business owners and community members to reward their teams with Smile Cookies in support of local kids. It’s the double double of charity! Treat those around you and ensure all children in Y care can receive healthy food their families may not have access to.”

Added YMCA child care vice-president: “With soaring food costs, more and more families are struggling to afford nutritious food and an increasing number of children are coming to us hungry.

“Funds raised through the Smile Cookie campaign help us ensure all children in our care receive daily healthy snacks to help them grow and thrive.”

Voyager RV will always care
Okanagan Edge Staff - Apr 19, 2023 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Despite facing “headwinds” in the industry, Voyager RV Centre is moving full speed ahead with its Voyager Cares initiative in 2023.

The Lake Country RV dealership’s goal each year is to raise $100,000 for local charities, and it has already dished out more than $30,000. The first two donations were $13,200 to Central Okanagan Food Bank and $18,750 to Canadian Mental Health Association.

“Despite some headwinds in our industry, we thought it was important to bring back Voyager Cares for this year,” Voyager RV vice-president Jason Friesen said in a press release. “For me it’s simple. There has to be more to this business than sales and servicing of RVs.

“While that’s important and will always be our focus, helping our community has to be just as important.”

Every Voyager RV employee votes for their favourite charities, and the top eight vote-getters receive a piece of the $100,000 pie. A charity is assigned a certain month and receives a percentage of every RV sold during that time period.

“It’s a simple concept, but it works really great because the staff here are a huge part of it all,” Friesen said. “They picked the charities, and their hard work finding, selling, servicing and cleaning the RVs each month is what leads to these big donation amounts.

“Plus we bring reps from each charity here for the cheque presentations, so that our staff can learn about what the donations mean to the charity and our community. It’s a pretty cool experience.”

Kelowna Hospice House will benefit from RVs sold during April.

Photo: Contributed

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