Team Depot pitches in
Okanagan Edge Staff - Nov 07 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Team Depot, which is a group of Home Depot employees from Kelowna, West Kelowna and Vernon, recently headed to Penticton to do some good.

Team Depot has completed 12 projects in the last six years, and last week they travelled to the South Okanagan to spruce up the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club facility in Penticton. They spent $1,400 and needed just six hours to apply two coats of paint in the coat room, Lego room, school-aged child care room, the club entrance and the hallway.

“The impact of The Home Depot support for our facilities has been enormous, and at this point I would not know what to do without Home Depot,” OBGC facilities and transportation director Jarrod Stocker said in a press release. “From every young person or family that walks through an OBGC door, we thank you.”

Team Depot has already made plans to return to Penticton for another project next year.

Yard Angels to the rescue
Jon Manchester - Nov 02 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

The Yard Angels are at it again.

A call for nominations to receive a free yard cleanup resulted in 42 suggestions of people unable to do the work themselves, who could use a helping hand.

No fewer than four of those nominations were for Karen and Randy Lachmuth in East Kelowna.

Last year, during a trip to Australia for his daughter’s wedding, a rogue wave hit Randy and drove him head first to the ocean floor, breaking two vertebrae and rendering him a quadriplegic.

He was airlifted off the beach to Perth, where he was operated on and, after about six weeks in hospital a Canadian medical team flew over to bring him to Vancouver General Hospital, said Ken Murray, who nominated the Lachmuths.

“When he arrived there, he almost died from pneumonia. A month later, he died twice one night and they had to put a pacemaker in. A couple of months later, he got a blood infection which affected his liver and kidneys … Needless to say, he’s been through hell, and somehow he still has a great attitude,” Murray said.

Randy has been at KGH for about three weeks “and is hopefully going to get back to his home that he hasn’t seen since Dec. 31 once he’s a little more stable.”

Randy has worked at Home Hardware on Springfield Road since the early 1990s and has many loyal clients. One of those is Glen Worman of Worman Homes. Glen and a volunteer crew renovated the Lachmuths’ home to receive Randy with donated materials from Home Hardware.

Randy also worked for Murray at Gallagher’s Canyon Construction as a home estimator. And, about three weeks ago, a tournament was held at the golf course there, raising almost $15,000 for Randy and Karen.

The Angels will descend on the Lachmuth home this Saturday for a much-deserved cleanup, spokesperson Colette Kinderdyk said.

Tina Walczak
Contributed - Nov 02 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

Name: Tina Walczak

What business or organization are you involved with? Hiilite Web Design and Marketing Agency

What is your role with that organization? Chief Design Officer

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The Okanagan is an absolutely stunning place to live. I’m grateful to live in a place that has continually changing seasons. When anyone comes to visit, I love having the opportunity to experience the Okanagan’s beauty and culture through their eyes.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I would choose David Kelley because of his relative metaphors when teaching creative confidence and design thinking. I really admire his ability to articulate design processes and would love to be mentored by him.

What’s your go-to happy place? Knox Mountain in Kelowna is where I go to reflect and unplug.

What are you most proud of? I’m most proud of my relationship with my husband and business partner, Will. His unconditional support and mentorship have given me the opportunity to grow personally and professionally.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1. Ted Talk speaker
2. Travel India
3. Great white shark diving

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I have eaten a grub (a worm-like creature) from my friend’s garden, and I would advise anyone that if you think it is a good idea, it is not.

Latest movie or book? Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The best gift I ever received was from our friend, Dina. She planned our wedding and surprised us with a beautiful ceremony at Christleton Manor. Without her, our wedding day wouldn’t have been nearly as magical.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would call everyone I know to remind them of their natural gifts and tell them I love them; I would go skydiving; and I would invite everyone I know to a huge, final celebration.

Matching program underway
Colin Dacre - Oct 31 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed
Philanthropist Barb MacDonald is congratulated by Youth Centre campaign chair Judy Lloyd (left) for being the first donor to have her donation matched by the new matching program.

An anonymous donor has stepped forward to provide a boost to the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan’s fundraising drive for the Youth Resource Centre.

All donations for the centre up to $200,000 will now be matched by the generous donor.

“This is a significant development in the ‘Futures Start Here’ fundraising campaign for the Youth Resource Centre,” said Aaron McRann, executive director of the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen. “We are currently over halfway to our $1.2 Million Dollar goal for this phase of the fundraising campaign. This matching donation is going to give the campaign a real boost.”

The group is raising money to renovate the main floor of the youth centre building at 501 Main St. in Penticton and open Foundry Penticton.

“Foundry Penticton is the anchor tenant for this building, providing youth (aged 12 to 24) and their families with one door to access youth services and resources in our community,” said Ian Gerbrandt with OneSky Community Resources, the agency that will be the lead organization operating Foundry Penticton. “This is a very exciting development that we hope will energize and inspire local donors and businesses to support this project.”

The $200,000 matching program runs until the end of the year, so those considering donating are urged to do so now so their money can be doubled.

“It’s been my experience that donors love to double their money, so I expect many of the folks we’ve been talking to will be ready to make their contribution,” said fundraising chair Judy Lloyd.

Naming opportunities for the many rooms inside Foundry Penticton are available, and a donor wall will recognize all gifts over $5,000.

To donate, please contact the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen at 250-493-9311 or

Food Dump coming up
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 26 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

A West Kelowna company is co-ordinating a massive food drive and is challenging others in the Central Okanagan to join in on the fun little competition.

Civil X Contractors is conducting its inaugural Food Dump to benefit the Central Okanagan Food Bank. Businesses are asked to collect as many non-perishable food items as they can between Nov. 1 and Dec. 8. Civil X will then swing by and pick up the load in one of its dump trucks. It will then take the truck to Kelowna Ready Mix and weigh all the food.

“We’re going to have the companies do the collecting, so we’re hoping they get their customers and their employees collecting at their businesses,” Civil X’s Sarah Kingsnorth said.

Any businesses interested in taking part in the inaugural Food Dump are asked to give Kingsnorth a call at 778-821-1399.

PRH needs volunteers
Kirk Penton - Oct 23 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed
Greyback Construction doing early construction on the new patient tower at the Penticton Regional Hospital.

If Interior Health paid minimum wage to all the volunteers who put in time at Penticton Regional Hospital, Launa Stocker believes it would surpass the $1 million mark annually.

That indicates just how important volunteers are to make the hospital run smoothly. They’re about to need even more of them with PRH’s expansion well underway.

Stocker, who is Interior Health’s volunteer co-ordinator, currently has approximately 300 people donating their time to PRH, and as soon as the hospital’s expansion is done in the spring she is going to need at least another 50.

“The training for all of that has to start in February and March,” Stocker said. “Everybody has to have a tour of the hospital, so I’ll be needing people to help me do the tours, wayfinding.”

Wayfinding is quite literally finding your way around a physical environment, which in the case of PRH will be a maze of new hallways. And everyone is going to need directions once the David E. Kampe Tower is up and operational.

“It’s not only for patients and visitors, but the staff as well,” Stocker said. “Some of the old building is going to be existing, so it’s finding your way back and forth between the two. There’s going to be consistent variables in locations for that first six months or so. So wayfinding’s going to be really big.”

The new tower will require more than only wayfinder volunteers. People are needed to deliver ice and meals on wheels, to guide patients through the medical imaging department, to help operate the pet therapy program, and to staff the new cafe and gift shop. Proceeds from the cafe and gift shop go back into the hospital’s coffers.

Stocker said volunteers are needed not only during the day, but on weekends and evenings as well. Anyone 16 years or older is eligible to volunteer after a criminal record check.

Anyone interested in volunteering at PRH can e-mail Stocker at [email protected].

Museum delegates in Kelowna
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 22 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

The movers and shakers of B.C.’s art and culture scene are in Kelowna at the moment for the BC Museums Association Conference.

The conference, which was organized by the Kelowna Art Gallery and Kelowna Museums Society, started Sunday and will wrap up Tuesday. More than 170 delegates have congregated in the Okanagan to discuss innovation and technology, social justice issues and climate change.

“Galleries and museums play an important role in educating the public, and it is important that we stay at the forefront of cultural and social change,” Kelowna Art Gallery executive director Nataley Nagy said in a press release. “Our sector has long shared the stories, artifacts and artworks of world cultures, from ancient Egypt and Rome to the Renaissance.

“As we move towards reconciliation in Canada, it is very important that cultural organizations be prepared to share indigenous culture, and to have the skills to do that in a respectful way.”

More information can be found at the event’s website.

Vanessa Jahnke
Kirk Penton - Oct 18 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

Name: Vanessa Jahnke

With what business or organization are you involved? PURE Gym & Juicery / Vanessa Jahnke, Health and Wellness Coach

What is your role with that organization? Owner

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Ahh! We are so lucky in the Okanagan. First of all, the landscape is absolutely incredible; we have so many activities available at our fingertips. Secondly, my friends and I were just recently chatting about how much opportunity there is here for young people versus, for example, living in the bigger cities where it’s so hard to get ahead.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I’d say Oprah! She is so full of wisdom and experience.

What’s your go-to happy place? My favourite happy place ever is Maui, but that’s not very “go-to.” Locally, I’d have to say a beach or a hike somewhere.

What are you most proud of? Starting a local business and getting through all the bumps in the road. We recently celebrated our third anniversary!

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1) Live part-time in Maui.
2) Hike Cinque Terre, Italy, with my mom.
3) Move my parents to the Okanagan.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Oh my gosh. Probably cricket pizza at the Hooded Merganser in Penticton.

Latest movie or book? I’m really into podcasts right now. I’m currently listening to a lot of Ed Mylett. I commute every day so I get a lot of time in my car, and it’s the perfect time to listen to speakers.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? A ticket to travel!

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Anywhere, doing anything with my family!

Cash to do some good
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 16 - Biz Releases

Interior Savings is once again giving away $10,000—in $100 increments—to those who vow to do something good with it.

As part of the credit union’s annual Day of Difference, which is Thursday, it will be looking for 100 people who will take $100 and make a difference in their community.

Residents from Clearwater to Osoyoos can go online Thursday and tell Interior Savings what they would do with $100. Credit union officials will then decide by Nov. 1 which 100 people will be given cash to make a difference in their community.

“We’ve seen incredible enthusiasm around this program, and each year participants continue to impress us with their ingenuity and heart,” Interior Savings CEO Kathy Conway said in a press release. “We’ve seen children taking the initiative to help the homeless. We’ve seen teachers involve entire classrooms in deciding how to make an impact. We’ve even witnessed participants grow their $100 into so much more by encouraging co-workers, friends and family to get involved.”

The $10,000 giveaway isn’t the only good Interior Savings will be doing on Thursday. It will also be sending employees out into their respective communities to do acts of good, and it will serve up treats for members at its locations.

Students’ blood wanted
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 10 - Get Involved

Image: Contributed

UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College are teaming up in an effort to get as much blood as possible donated over the final two weeks of October.

The two post-secondary institutions, in collaboration with Canadian Blood Services, are holding two, week-long blood donation events. The first donation event will help fill open appointments at the Kelowna fixed blood donor centre. They hope to collect 500 blood donations combined.

UBCO will also set up blood donation events starting on Oct. 24, and transportation options will be available for students.

All Get Involved Stories