Elite honour for Rotary leader
Jon Manchester - Dec 03, 2021 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Vernon’s Teresa Durning has received a Rotary International presidential citation.

Vernon Silver Star Rotary co-president Dave Weatherill says only 20% of Rotary clubs worldwide achieve the citation award.

“We are very proud of Teresa,” he said. “She is an amazing and tireless worker for our community.”

Durning accepted the award from District 5060 governor Richard DeRock of Wenatchee, Wash., on behalf of the club’s achievements during her presidential year.

“The club reworked programming and brainstormed ideas to achieve success within the confines of COVID,” Weatherill says.

Durning praised club members on their resiliency and adaptability.

The club found new projects such as stream keeping, street cleaning, garage sales and local school donations to achieve its giving goals.

The year “fundamentally changed the way the club does things,” said Durning, who looks forward to continuing on as an active member of the organization.

Thousands raised for Red Cross
Okanagan Edge Staff - Dec 02, 2021 - Get Involved

Photo: Facebook

The donations have been tallied, and Lake Country’s Ex Nihilo Vineyards raised nearly $34,000 for the Canadian Red Cross B.C. fires appeal.

The funds were raised through a combination of silent and live auction items that were available at the Midnight Gala Event that was held last Friday at the winery. The money raised was matched by the B.C. government.

“The event itself was a huge success,” Ex Nihilo owner Decoa Harder said in a press release. “We raised money for the Canadian Red Cross as well as celebrated the inaugural release of our MIDNIGHT wine, and we are thrilled with the amount raised.

“We know how important these dollars are to helping British Columbians recover from the fires that burned last summer across the province, and we are so thankful for the support of our community.”

The B.C. government will continue to match all donations to the Canadian Red Cross B.C. Fires Appeal campaign until the end of December.

Big funds for The Mustard Seed
Kristen Holliday - Dec 02, 2021 - Get Involved

A $50,000 donation from Kamloops Ram to The Mustard Seed Kamloops was announced on Wednesday, money the non-profit says will help start programming and advocacy work for vulnerable and street-entrenched women.

Kelly Thomson, The Mustard Seed Kamloops’s managing director, said to his knowledge this is the largest non-government donation in the history of the non-profit.

Thomson said he found out about the donation on a trip to Calgary.

“It took me about three days to process that it was actually real,” Thomson said.

“I felt, number one, that the generosity of Kamloops Ram and Jason and his team, that was amazing. And then the next thought is that this is going to help our vulnerable women in our community, because that’s a passion of mine.”

According to Thomson, the money is going to support vulnerable women in Kamloops, many of whom have found themselves homeless or are lacking stable housing.

Thomson said about 20% to 25% of the people served by The Mustard Seed are women, but the non-profit doesn’t yet have any programs specifically focused on women—a group with specific needs and challenges that can be unseen on the streets.

He said part of the funds will go towards a program yet to be announced, while some will go to advocacy work headed up by Dolly Flynn, a woman with lived experience who has been involved with The Mustard Seed Kamloops for years.

“She knows the ladies, and she’s got the credibility, and she knows where they are. So she’s going to help us connect to people we’ve never been able to connect to before. And that’s going to be a massive difference,” Thomson said.

“The women can begin to trust that we do care about them. That’s my heart, is that they understand that we care, we want to know their names, and we want to know their stories, and we want to help them.”

Flynn said she got sober 15 years ago through The Mustard Seed, known at the time as New Life Mission.

“I got sober from this room and managed to stay sober for the very first time,” Flynn said.

Flynn said she’s going to do the best she can to connect with women on the street and try to help them get sober.

“This money is going to be such a gift,” she said. “I see the need. I was one that was helped. So I’m going to try and help others.”

Jason DeBlois, dealer principal with Kamloops Ram, said he was prompted to make the donation after taking a tour through The Mustard Seed’s facility.

He said he hopes that this donation can help spur other businesses and community leaders as well.

“It’s very apparent that there is a big need in the community for support. And we thought, well, we need to do something to assist that and to help our community that we’re now living in and calling home,” DeBlois said.

He said it was apparent that there was a great need for women’s programming.

“It seemed like that was where we can make our best effort and really help make a change,” he said.

Opera launches fundraising kick
Jayden Wasney - Dec 02, 2021 - Get Involved

Photo: Facebook

Opera Kelowna is kickstarting a fundraising campaign to raise $40,000.

After taking a hit in revenue generation due to COVID-19, raising funds between now and March 31, 2022, ensures Opera Kelowna can continue entertaining the Okanagan into the new year.

Despite restrictions on venues and funding, the opera has come up with creative ways to serenade audiences safely such as sidewalk shows for seniors living in care facilities and community concerts over the last two years. The organization is optimistic they can continue expanding these community shows and bring back full-scale performances in 2022.

The opera’s vision is expressed through its dedication to four pillars: productions, community education, education and accessibility. For each month of the matching campaign, they’ll highlight one of these four areas to share past achievements and upcoming goals to enrich the opera’s activities.

Beginning Dec. 1 until March 2022, all funds raised from the public will be matched up to $5,000 by community leaders who are dedicated to the company’s future.

“We are building Opera Kelowna to be a vibrant, innovative opera community that celebrates artistic imagination, reflects relevance for our time, and connects with our community. We are so grateful to be doing this work and truly hope local residents will support us in this vision,” artistic director Rosemary Thomson said.

Click here to see Opera Kelowna’s website and follow along the Monthly Matching Campaign.

Telus steps up for farmers
Okanagan Edge Staff - Nov 30, 2021 - Get Involved

Photo: Glacier Media

Telus Agriculture is donating $100,000 to help farmers affected by B.C.’s floods.

The B.C.-based communications company is giving $50,000 to the BC Agriculture Council and another $50,000 of in-kind support in veterinary services, comfort kits, and network access.

It will also give $1, up to $10,000, to the BCAC every time there is an interaction with the hashtag #HereForFarmers on social media channels.

“At Telus Agriculture, we are committed to creating better food outcomes, and that commitment includes supporting our agriculture communities when disaster strikes,” Telus Agriculture president John Raines said in a press release. “It is an honour for our team to lend our support to British Columba’s farming community as they continue to deal with the effects of the unprecedented flooding to their homes and livelihoods.

“Our team is thinking of those affected and we are committed to supporting the community as they assess, recover and rebuild.”

Stober Bridges gap for youth
Madison Erhardt - Nov 30, 2021 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

The Bridge Youth & Family Services in Kelowna is celebrating a $25,000 donation towards phase two of its Youth Recovery House, thanks to the Stober Foundation.

The donation will help people under 19 years old who are struggling with addiction.

“The Stober Foundation is well-known for their commitment to improving the lives of those in need and this gift is no exception,” Bridge executive director Celine Thompson said.

The funds will be added to the organization’s capital campaign to build phase two of its Okanagan Youth Recovery House. The Bridge opened phase one in May 2021 with Interior Health and the province of B.C. covering operational costs.

The organization says it is proud of what they have been able to do for phase one, but the current space does have its limitations.

“A purpose-built space will allow us to tailor the residents’ environment in an intentional and deliberate way. Every aspect of the building and its surroundings will reflect and acknowledge evidence-informed practice and the feedback we received from focus groups of families, communities and young people,” she explains.

The proposed building will be a home away from home where youth can focus on self-improvement by way of building connections. The design of the house will work to promote self-growth by connecting the youth to themselves, their allies and nature.

The Bridge is officially launching phase two of its capital campaign today as part of #GivingTuesday.

For more information on the Youth Recovery House campaign visit youthrecoveryhouse.ca.

Cars & Toys goes this weekend
Madison Erhardt - Nov 29, 2021 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Kelowna’s August Luxury Motorcars is again hosting its annual Cars & Toys Charity Toy Drive.

The sixth year for the fundraiser will take place this Sunday (Dec. 5) from 3 to 5 p.m.

Guests will be able to walk through a supercar winter wonderland, donate new unwrapped toys and help raise funds for a number of charities. Santa will also be on hand to take pictures with the kids.

All Santa photos are free of charge, but August Motors is asking those attending bring a new unwrapped toy as a donation. Photos will be emailed to all those in attendance following the event.

Toys donated this year will be going to Ronald McDonald House BC and Yukon, JoeAnna’s House and Mamas for Mamas to help bring joy to children and their families who need it the most this holiday season.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all those over the age of 12 is mandatory upon entry due to the nature of this event. For those who can not participate in indoor activities but would like to support there will also be an outdoor area.

Fund to fight maternal mortality
Rob Gibson - Nov 26, 2021 - Get Involved

Photo: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

A retired Kelowna businessman is trying to turn tragedy into triumph.

Twenty-seven years ago, one of Paul Carr’s best days turned into one of his worst, after his wife, Kitty, died just four hours after giving birth to his daughter.

Carr was devastated and has spent much of his life working to ensure no one else has to go through what he and his daughter had to survive.

“I feel a profound responsibility to my wife and daughter, and to support women’s health in Canada,” Carr said.

Aside from the countless hours advocating for women’s health, Carr and the Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health launched the Kitty Carr Fund this week.

The fund is supported by a generous donation from Carr and will be used to finance annual post-graduate scholarships focused on the prevention of maternal mortality, as well as initiatives towards the implementation of a confidential inquiry system in Canada.

The funding programs of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, the new Kitty Carr Fund, the Dawn Walker Grant and the Lalonde Bursary, will support research, education and initiatives to improve access to the highest quality of obstetric care to improve outcomes for mothers, their babies and their families.

Canada ranks 39th in the world in maternal mortality, and these new funds are designed to improve that ranking and eliminate preventable maternal deaths in Canada.

“The launch of the SOGC toolkit is the culmination of much research and collaboration. My daughter, Kitty Lana, and I are profoundly encouraged and grateful for the efforts of Dr. Cook and her colleagues in their extraordinary efforts to save mothers’ lives in Canada,” Carr said.

Carr is also launching a fundraising campaign by reaching out to more than a 100 Canadian business leaders asking them to match his donation or support the Kitty Carr Fund, which has a goal of raising $1 million to support research.

Dr. Popadiuk, chair of the CFWH, said “there is nothing more unexpected or tragic for a family than losing a mother in childbirth. Mr. Carr so poignantly and generously has shared his family’s personal tragedy and wants to see something positive come of it for Canadian mothers.”

Funding for these projects is also provided by Merck, an American multinational pharmaceutical company, through its Merck for Mothers program.

Carr says it’s essential to develop a program for confidential inquiry into maternal mortality in Canada, in order to understand the true picture of maternal deaths.

“By capturing and reviewing every such tragedy to one year post-delivery, and identifying contributory factors and opportunities for prevention, we hope to save mothers’ lives and improve obstetric care across the country,” Carr said.

Although there are no hard numbers in Canada, U.S. data shows over 60% of pregnancy-related maternal deaths were preventable. “We suspect the same is true for Canada, but we don’t have accurate data to confirm this,” Carr said.

“We are so thankful for Mr. Carr and for Merck for Mothers, for their steadfast support to help us begin this journey to eliminate preventable maternal death in Canada,” SOGC’s chief scientific officer Dr. Jocelynn Cook said. “We owe it to the families left behind to learn from each and every maternal death to prevent them happening again in the future. And we can do it.”

Valley First steps up for Princeton
Chelsea Powrie - Nov 25, 2021 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Valley First credit union has announced a major donation to the Princeton Flood Relief fund established by the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen.

The fund has been set up as the town continues to battle ongoing issues after last week’s historic flooding.

The $20,000 announced Wednesday from Valley First will go towards relief and recovery efforts.

“The community of Princeton has a big heart and is responding to the devastation with incredible courage,” Valley First president Paulo Araujo said in a press release.

“Valley First has deep roots here in Princeton and now the community needs everyone’s help from all of us across Valley First and First West. Our team is rallying to provide these funds where they’re most needed, because the idea of neighbour helping neighbour is part of who we are.”

Last week Valley First also donated $3,000 to the Princeton Food Bank as part of the organization’s ongoing Feed the Valley program, which supports food banks throughout the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson Valleys.

For more information on the Princeton relief fund and how you can help, click here.

Penticton bell ringers needed
Casey Richardson - Nov 25, 2021 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

The Salvation Army is in need of some holiday helpers to ring the bells at their Christmas Kettle throughout Penticton.

Campaign co-ordinator Mary MacArthur explained that volunteer numbers have dropped throughout the pandemic, especially since there is a requirement for people to be double vaccinated to join.

“We are in need of more volunteers for many different reasons, mainly because of the vaccination mandate, and some of the volunteers aren’t returning,” she said.

“Some just aren’t comfortable coming out during this pandemic. So our volunteers are down, but we’re still getting new people stepping up, which is good, but we’d like more new people and even some returning people would be nice.”

Five locations have been set up since Nov. 15 throughout the city, with two locations at Walmart, one at the Superstore and two in Cherry Lane Mall, which are open near Save On Foods and London Drugs.

There will also be an additional location added in December and pop-ups in Summerland, Keremeos and Osoyoos.

All locations will run until Dec. 24 from Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“[Donations] are slowly coming in, and we’re hopeful that as time goes on, and we move into December and we get closer to Christmas, that they will pick up because there’s just such a need this year,” MacArthur added.

“People are not only wanting to help with the kettles, but they’re wanting to help with the floods.”

MacArthur added that being a kettle volunteer is a great way to help give back to the community, especially with so many in need this year.

“Anything that we could do to make life a little easier for them would be a good reason for them to come out and ring the bells and increase our donations.”

Parents and grandparents are also encouraged to volunteer with their kids for the holidays to instil the spirit of giving.

“Let them stand at the kettle stand, ringing the bells, they can sing, they can wear their reindeer antlers. We have found that the donations seem to double at the stands when there is a young animated child standing there ringing the bells,” MacArthur said.

To find out more or volunteer with the Christmas Kettle Campaign, reach out to MacArthur at 250-488-0726 or by email at [email protected]

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