Firefighters play Santa Claus
Okanagan Edge Staff - Dec 13, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed
Jarrod Stocker (left) and Cheyenne Brooks (middle) from the Lake Country Boys and Girls Club accept a donation cheque from Lake Country FD chief Steve Windsor (second from left), fire inspector Eric DeGelder (second from right) and deputy chief Brent Penner (right).

The Lake Country Fire Department recently donated to several Okanagan organizations, including another volunteer fire department.

The Lake Country crew raised money during its spring training event held in May, when volunteer firefighters of all levels of experience took part in mental and physical challenges.

“Our goal with the 2019 spring training event was to provide great training so each firefighter could bring some new techniques back to their department to share what they learned with their fellow first responders,” Lake Country FD fire inspector Eric DeGelder said in a press release.

“We are very pleased we were also able to donate some of the funds raised during the Lake Country event to local charities.”

The groups that benefited from the donations were Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs, Easter Seals Camp Winfield, SPCA, Royal Canadian Legion Oyama Branch 189, and Apex Fire Department for slope rescue equipment.

Donation bins more safe
Sarita Patel - Dec 13, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

UBC Okanagan campus engineering students believe they have solved a problem that has taken several lives and cost charities across Canada thousands of dollars in lost income.

Last year, charities across Vancouver had to pull clothing donation bins off the streets after people died from climbing inside them.

“When this last death happened in Vancouver, we decided to move all our bins off the street,” Big Brothers’ Vancouver’s Slav Gudelj said. “It did have a huge impact on our bottom line, and is going to cost us about half a million dollars.”

Gudelj, who is general manager of clothing donation operations for Big Brothers, says the organization now has about 180 boxes sitting in storage.

UBCO School of Engineering instructor Ray Taheri has a few of those bins parked outside the engineering building. As part of his first-year design course, he tasked his students to come up with a way to modify the bins and make them safer.

“Most engineers know that modifying an existing design is often more difficult than starting from scratch. It was a perfect challenge for my students,” Taheri said.

The students came up with a number of solutions, from where these bins should be located to self-locking features that automatically come on at specific times. They also looked at adding a sensor to alert organizations that bins were almost at capacity, preventing donations left outside.

“We ended up with a number of different models and eventually settled on four prototypes—each a little bit different,” Taheri said.

“Some will come with more bells and whistles. Some will be a very basic model. But definitely they are a much safer than what we had in the past.”

Gudelj is back on the campus this week, meeting with Taheri and the engineering students to finalize plans and get nearly 180 of the newly retrofitted bins back into the community over the coming months.

Make these CDs Gonzo
Okanagan Edge Staff - Dec 12, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Kirk Penton

A Christmas fundraiser coordinated by Gonzo Okanagan and Best Western Plus Kelowna has raised nearly $4,000 for families in need, and they’re still shooting for more.

The Miracle on 97th Street Live Recording & Silent Auction, which was held on Sunday, Nov. 3, was a unique event in which 12 Thompson Okanagan musical acts performed Christmas songs live on stage at 97 Street Pub. The performances were recorded and put on a CD that organizers are selling, with the proceeds going to Kelowna S.H.A.R.E. Society adopt-a-family hamper program.

Gonzo Okanagan, which is a local music, arts and entertainment publication, will be visiting the Kelowna S.H.A.R.E. Society office on Friday, Dec. 20, to deliver what they’ve raised. It has already designated money for food and gifts for five local families.

There are still CDs available at 97 Street Pub, but the deadline is tomorrow. Gonzo’s goal was to raise $5,000 to give away, and it would like to provide $25 gift certificates to the residents of Ozanam Recovery House with any remaining funds.

UBCO brigade needs help
Sarita Patel - Dec 09, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Twenty-three committed University of British Columbia Okanagan students need your help to provide health care in communities without access to medicine and medical aid.

Anna Bernath is part of the UBCO Global Medical and Dental Brigades, a student-led, secular, international network of university clubs that travel to developing countries to provide aid to developing countries around the world.

This is initiative is fully fundraised by students and they have 23 students travelling to Honduras in February.

“Each student must attain a minimum donation goal of $2,480 which goes towards medical supplies and equipment which directly helps a developing community,” Bernath said in an email.

They have an online auction and GoFundMe page set up to help reach their goals.

The auction is open now until tomorrow.

This will be UBC’s first chapter this year with the goal of assisting remote rural communities throughout Central America annually. The students have the opportunity to help hundreds of less fortunate people daily in the areas of health care, dental care, and public health in a sustainable manner.

Art on the Line returns
Okanagan Edge Staff - Dec 06, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

UBCO will once again be the place to be for one of the valley’s most prolific art shows.

Art on the Line returns Saturday, Feb. 1, when various artists will have their work on display at the university. The fundraising event is held annually by UBCO’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies in association with the Visual Arts Course Union.

Proceeds from the event support visual arts student exhibitions, including UBCO’s fourth-year graduating show, the visiting artist program, and opportunities for travel grants and exhibitions.

“In years past we’ve seen how Art on the Line is an event where community can come together to celebrate the arts, and we are honoured to be a part of that,” Art on the Line Aiden de Vin said in a press release. “For us it’s a great opportunity to be more involved in the visual arts community on campus and in Kelowna. We get to work with students from all years of the Visual Arts Program, and faculty and community members who love the arts.”

There will be 120 juried works of art on display. They will be donated from students, faculty, alumni and community artists. The artwork is then raffled off to guests, creating a lottery that makes for a fun and suspenseful evening.

The cost of one ticket, which admits two people, is $190, but it also guarantees one piece of artwork. Tickets for $10 can also be purchased at the door for those guests who want to attend the event but not purchase a piece of artwork.

Some of the proceeds from the February event will also be donated to The Bridge Youth and Family Services.

Donate toy, get a tree
Okanagan Edge Staff - Dec 05, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed
The Vita sales centre is located at the corner of Dilworth Drive and Baron Road.

If you’re still in need of a Christmas tree, you will want to mark Saturday on your calendar.

K West Homes is inviting the public to come to its Vita sales centre with an unwrapped toy in exchange for a free Christmas tree. The Vita sales centre is located at the corner of Dilworth Drive and Baron Road, just to the east of Orchard Park Shopping Centre.

K West Homes employees will be accepting toys between noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday, and each of the gifts will be donated to Kelowna Santas, which is a charitable foundation that helps children and families in need during the holiday season.

Being charitable is nothing new for K West, which donates $1,000 to charity for each person who purchases one of its homes. It donated more than $150,000 through its Cambridge House project alone last year.

Plenty of giving on Tuesday
Okanagan Edge Staff - Dec 04, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Facebook
The United Way and numerous charities celebrate Giving Tuesday at Kelowna City Hall.

The United Way was busy on Tuesday, launching the giving season in the Okanagan’s three major cities.

The Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday is known as Giving Tuesday, and the Okanagan’s United Way and Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs got the local movement going in 2015.

Local civic leaders, charities, companies and citizens gathered at the city halls in Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon to recognize the official kickoff of the giving season and celebrate those who give back.

Penticton Mayor John led his council meeting by reading the Giving Tuesday proclamation, Kelowna deputy mayor Loyal Wooldridge announced Giving Tuesday inside city hall, and Vernon councillor Akbal Mund and MLA Eric Foster celebrated the day in council chambers.

The United Way also set up a community giving tree in Vernon, on which companies are invited to add an ornament while also dropping off a donation for their favourite charity.

Trellis, a relatively new Okanagan company that is all about giving back, is inviting the public to start their own giving campaign through its “Sprout a Fundraiser” initiative, which can be found here.

Pizza to the rescue
Sarita Patel - Dec 03, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Darryl Reuter, a resident of Kelowna’s North End, wanted to do his part to help the homeless.

He put up a Facebook post saying: ‘Hey, how about we show a little bit of compassion here regardless of why they’re there, how they’re there, they probably don’t want to be there either – but let’s try to make life a little more comfortable, a little more welcoming.”

That’s when Houston Pizza reached out to donate 15 large pizzas, valued at about $500.

Reuter and friends Bill Ferguson and Justin Corradetti delivered the pizzas donated by store owner Parth Patel.

“(The camp) was just getting set up when we got there, and everybody was really appreciative … they had a big warming tent there and they kind of positioned them in there and had them all laid out so people could come in and get a nice, fresh slice of pizza.”

Reuter knows it won’t solve the problem, but he hopes the gesture can start a ripple effect of caring.

“There are some big government changes that need to take place here, but there’s also a grassroots movement that need to take place, people working together and providing little solutions as well.

“We’re all in this together … just because we’re grateful and we have a good job and a warm roof over our head doesn’t mean we have to forget everybody else that might not be lucky in life or made a couple of bad decisions. We all need to rally around.”

CAC gets huge lift
Laura Brookes - Nov 28, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Kelowna Foundation’s first Mission Possible gala kicked off with a bang, raising $140,000 for the Child Advocacy Centre.

When it opens, the centre will provide a safe space for children suffering abuse and will reduce the risk of re-traumatization by assessing children in one integrated facility.

The funds will go towards closing the remaining gap required to begin operations at the centre in January.

Kelowna Foundation executive director Ginny Becker says her team was encouraged by the Nov. 21 event, attended by 350 supporters dressed up in their cocktail finest.

“There were a number of high-profile events happening in the community that same night. We are incredibly grateful that so many chose to be with us. This event was a fundraiser, but it was also a celebration. Kelowna Foundation has been working exclusively on the development of this CAC project for the better part of two and a half years, and it was time to take a moment and celebrate the partnership and community helping to bring it to life.”

Through an extraordinary pledge made by the Stober Family Foundation, all funds will be matched dollar for dollar until Dec, 31, or up to $500,000.

“The nature of this gift is so important,” Foundation president Al Hildebrant said. “For every dollar raised to close this capital campaign, the Stober Family Foundation has committed to a future dollar to support ongoing operations. This is a truly transformational gift, and we are so grateful to them and to everyone who has supported and continues to support this capital buildout.”

Donations to the CAC project can be made through the Kelowna Foundation.

Christmas time in August
Okanagan Edge Staff - Nov 26, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

The fourth annual Cars & Toys event will be taking place this Sunday at August Motorcars.

All anyone has to do is bring a new, unwrapped toy down to the dealership between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to get their photo taken with Santa and supercars. There will also be Christmas treats, coffee and hot cocoa from Third Space Coffee, a bonfire, Clydesdale horses from Horse Drawn Okanagan as well as other festive activities.

Santa will be making a “special arrival” at 11 a.m. sharp. August Motorcars is located at 884 McCurdy Pl.

August Family Foundation will be donating the toys that are collected this year 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 most.

The event is free—with the exception of the new, unwrapped toy—and photos with Santa will be emailed following the event.

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