Homegrown food gets boost
Miriam Halpenny - Oct 18, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Chefs in the Classroom is growing, thanks to a $10,000 donation from Mission Hill Estate Winery.

The non-profit program launched in 2016 by the Okanagan Chefs Association provides edible education to Grade 3 school children in the valley.

The curriculum provides hands-on, Okanagan and Aboriginal inspired practices that show children how to grow, cook and eat local.

The classes consist of six 90-minute lessons that are taught each spring in which Okanagan chefs visit classrooms in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Summerland and Naramata.

“Chefs in the Classroom is entirely volunteer-run and sponsor funded, and that is something that we are tremendously proud of,” spokesperson Debbie MacMillan said.

MacMillan expects 2020 will be its biggest year yet.

The program consists of volunteers ranging from chefs to cooks, farmers, gardeners, nutritionists, and educators visiting classrooms with support from organizations including Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, Kiwanis Club of Kelowna – Summit, Harmony Honda, Start Fresh Kitchen, Bylands Garden Centre, the Okanagan Table Cookbook, Farm Credit Canada and more.

Darryl Brooker, president of Mission Hill, has supported the growth of the program since the launch and provided 50 children with an outdoor lesson in 2016, when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited.

“Mission Hill chefs have actively participated as part of the volunteer teams, teaching children in the classroom,” Brooker said. “We were pleased to host a field trip last year for 75 Grade 3 children.”

The students were provided with a tour of the vineyard and culinary garden, where they learned how grapes are grown.

To volunteer for the 2020 program, find more information, here.

Voyager donation hits home
Kirk Penton - Oct 16, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed
Voyager RV donates $16,000 to the ALS Society.

Voyager RV Centre had a record-setting sales month in September, which means it is hurtling towards its goal of donating $100,000 to charity this year.

The Lake Country business presented its latest cheque to the ALS Society of BC in early October for $16,000 as part of its Voyager Cares drive. It’s a donation that hit close to home for Voyager RV general manager Ward Fraser.

“The ALS Society is near and dear to my heart specifically because this is what my mother passed away from two years ago,” Fraser said in a press release. “It’s amazing what the ALS Society does for patients living with this devastating disease, and I want to thank the Voyager team for all their individual hearts and minds that they used to choose the charities this year, especially the ALS Society, because this one really gets me.”

The ALS Society is the sixth recipient of the Voyager Cares initiative, which kicked off last November, joining the Central Okanagan Food Bank, BC Heart and Stroke Foundation, Alzheimer Society of BC, BC Cancer Foundation and Mamas for Mamas. The company has donated $79,170 so far this year.

“The cheque presentations have been extremely exciting and an important part of this campaign,” Voyager RV vice-president Jason Friesen said. “They’ve helped created a personal connection for every member of the Voyager team because they’re learning first-hand the impact their hard work and dedication has not only for the charities but the communities they support.

“It has created a strong sense of ownership for the entire staff, not just the leadership group, which has helped propel us towards our goal.”

The campaign will continue through October and November, when the final donation will be made to the Kelowna Women’s Shelter. Following a number of record breaking sales months already this year, the Voyager leadership team says there is a good chance it can still reach its top goal of $100,000 in donations.

“When we kicked off this campaign last November to celebrate our 35th anniversary, we knew we were creating high expectations for every member of the Voyager team,” Friesen said. “We’re extremely proud of their dedication and the level to which they’ve stepped up to helped push us towards this lofty goal.”

Local Give celebrates goodness
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 11, 2019 - Get Involved

If you’re giving thanks this weekend and wondering what you can do to give back, Interior Savings Credit Union is interested in hearing what you have to say.

The credit union is back once again with its Local Give promotion, but this year there is a twist. Interior Savings for the past three years gave away $10,000 to people who would then do some good with it.

This year, the credit union is giving away the money, but this time it is going directly to the people who have made a difference in the community.

“Over the past three years we’ve seen incredible enthusiasm for our $10,000 Local Give,” Interior Savings CEO Kathy Conway said in a press release. “With the Thanksgiving weekend falling just before our Day of Difference, we decided to switch it up this year and help celebrate the change makers in our community.”

Starting tomorrow and continuing until Tuesday, Interior Savings will post a question daily to their Facebook page that will give the public an opportunity to highlight those doing great things in your community and to share how they would say thanks with $200. Each day, the credit union will randomly select 10 respondents to receive $200.

The cash must be used to say thanks to those who’ve made a positive impact on the person or their community.

“Most people who make a remarkable difference in our lives don’t do it for the recognition,” Conway said. “They do it because it’s important to them. So how does one say thanks? Two hundred dollars could make a meaningful impact to a cause that is near and dear to them, or could be used to treat them to something they wouldn’t otherwise do for themselves.”

Interior Savings will then have its Day of Difference on Thursday, celebrating those who are helping to build strong, connected and vibrant communities. They will start the day with gifts and treats for members and then close early so all 500 staff from Clearwater to Osoyoos can head out into the community to lend a helping hand.

This year, Interior Savings’ employees will be pulling weeds, raking leaves, cooking and serving food, painting, cleaning, sorting, donating blood and cleaning up the streets.

Home Hardware in cancer fight
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 11, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Google

Home Hardware’s Okanagan locations are trying to put the hammer on cancer.

The hardware chain’s valley stores is asking the public to donate in the fight against cancer. The company will match the total raised in the month of October up to $50,000.

The donations can be made online or in any of Home Hardware’s five Okanagan stores.

The money will support the latest breakthroughs in breast cancer research and care at BC Cancer-Kelowna.

Interior gets seniors going
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 10, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed
(L to R): YMCA member Norma Loewen, Interior Savings’ Sue Manzuik, YMCA member Don Ross, YMCA health promotions supervisor Adriane Long and YMCA GM Kelley Taylor.

Interior Savings made a donation this week to the YMCA of Okanagan to support seniors’ health.

The credit union donated $17,521 through its Community Investment Fund to purchase specialty equipment for the YMCA that is geared more towards seniors.

“This enables the YMCA to serve new participants, the majority being seniors, who need adaptable equipment to overcome their mobility restrictions and health issues,” YMCA health promotions supervisor Adriane Long said in a press release. “We have seen a significant increase in the number of people attending our health promotions programs at the Kelowna Family YMCA, and they are benefiting from the donated leg press and NuStep recumbent cross trainer to perform their exercises.”

Interior Savings said the donation to the YMCA fit what the company is trying to achieve in the community.

“This investment in our local Y is a great alignment of values and harnessing of local money for local good,” Interior Savings CEO Kathy Conway said. “We’re pleased to partner with the YMCA of Okanagan to support an initiative that is inclusive and encourages older adults to stay active and connected to their community.”

Big boost for learning centre
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 08, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Big White’s Early Learning Centre is now open after two years of volunteer work.

Now that there are more people living on the mountain all year round, the Early Learning Centre has three programs that started in September and will operate until June. The centre is primarily for 18- to 35-month-olds, but there is another program for those between the ages of three and five.

Insure Wealth is in its second year of sponsoring the centre, and it will be donating $1,000 to its fundraising effort. The company is asking others to support the cause as well.

All donations will go to the centre’s operating costs. Once it is up and running for a year, it will be eligible for various grants to help it keep registration fees affordable and sustainable for Big White families.

More information can be found at the centre’s GoFundMe page.

Walk into volunteer role
Okanagan Edge Staff - Oct 02, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is looking for a little help.

The IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s will take place next May, but the organization is seeking volunteers to help make the fundraiser a smashing success.

The event is a way British Columbians can celebrate and remember people in their lives who have been affected by dementia while they raise valuable funds and awareness to create change in their communities. The event is organized by dedicated and passionate volunteer committees.

“Since retiring in 2002, volunteering has been an important part of my life,” 2019 Kelowna Walk chair Guy Bird said in a press release. “Of all the activities and initiatives I have undertaken, none was more exciting, challenging and gratifying than acting as the chair and leading the team organizing the 2019 Kelowna Walk.

“The funds raised really make such a difference for those living with dementia and caregivers like myself.”

Select committee roles are available which allow applicants to bring their special skills and knowledge to the event. Roles may include but are not limited to accounting, promotion and publicity, sponsorship and volunteer co-ordination.

More information can be found at event’s website.

Tech upgrade for YMCA
Okanagan Edge Staff - Sep 24, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed
L to R: Wendy Wright, YMCA; Taylor Horsting, Bonnie Kilistoff, Maureen Kilcullen, Lana Swan and Gwen Davis, Coast Capital Savings; and Cassandra Thomas, YMCA.

Coast Capital Savings is doing what it can to help young adults earn the skills they need to get jobs.

The Kelowna credit union donated $8,000 to the YMCA Connects program through its community investments grant. YMCA Connects is an employment program that provides essential skills and job readiness training to those between the ages of 18 and 24.

The YMCA of Okanagan used the money it received to upgrade technology for program participants, to improve program efficiency and to create diversity of learning opportunities.

Hoping to strike stigma out
Okanagan Edge Staff - Sep 23, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed
You Are Collective co-founders Michael Nolan and Rebecca Steinhubl.

A Kelowna mental health group is holding a slo-pitch tournament next month in an effort to bring attention to its cause.

You Are Collective is the Okanagan-based initiative that sells clothing and donates 10 per cent of proceeds to mental health support. Its slo-pitch tournament, called Strike Out The Stigma, will be held to improve communication and awareness, and break down barriers when it comes to mental health stigmas.

The tournament will be held Oct. 5 and 6, which is the start of Mental Illness Awareness Week, at the East Kelowna Ball Diamonds. There will be a maximum of eight teams.

“The tournament is a way for both community initiatives as well as the public to understand how mental health plays a role in every aspect of our lives and how there are resources around to help,” You Are Collective co-founder Rebecca Steinhubl said in a press release. “We want to foster the community within the community.”

More information can be found at the slo-pitch tournament’s website.

‘Business Gives Back’ returns
Colin Dacre - Sep 23, 2019 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

The Penticton Speedway Foundation has teamed up with the South Okanagan Medical Foundation to bring back “Business Gives Back.”

Many residents will remember Business Gives Back as an event that ran in Penticton for more than two decades, before ceasing in 2015.

In November, the two charities will revive the long-running event, in which local businesses will help local nonprofits.

The fundraiser on Nov. 29 at the Barking Parrot will open at 12 p.m. with a champagne mix and mingle, followed by lunch at 1 p.m., a live auction at 2 p.m., a silent auction, entertainment and more emceed by comedian Patrick Maliha and co-hosted by Castanet’s Chelsea Powrie.

Businesses are encouraged to participate by donating a product or service for auction or stepping up with a sponsorship.

Through the Speedway Foundation and SOS Medical Foundation, the event will support local breakfast programs, South Okanagan Children’s Charity, Critteraid, Alleycats Alliance, SOWINS, United Way, Jumpstart and the purchase of equipment at Penticton Regional Hospital.

Tickets are now on sale for $80, which includes lunch, a drink and a chance at door prizes. Full tables and group tickets are available.

You can purchase them at the front desk of the Penticton Lakeside Resort, or by calling or texting 250-809-9117 or emailing [email protected]

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