Olympic fundraiser on tap
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 11, 2024 - Get Involved

Photo: The Canadian Press

The Summer Olympics in Paris are less than two months away, and one Kelowna woman continues to fundraise for the athletes who will make Canada proud in the French capital.

Kelowna resident Jane Roos, once a promising track athlete until a car crash ended her dreams at 19, is holding the Kelowna Summer Crush cocktail party on Thursday. The invitation-only event will benefit CAN Fund #150Women, which specifically supports Canadian female Olympians. CAN Fund #150Women is part of CAN Fund, which Roos founded to help athletes reach their dreams.

Kelowna Summer Crush will feature a silent auction, and Roos is gladly accepting any last-minute items, including one-of-a-kind experiences, gift certificates, event tickets, gift baskets, wine or jewelry, from anyone who can help. If you would like to help can send an email to Roos at [email protected].

Hundreds of female athletes have applied to CAN Fund #150Women for financial support. Successful applicants receive $8,000 each, and the direct funding gives them access to more resources and opportunities in their final preparations before the Olympics.

“It’s a really critical time for our athletes,” Roos said. “The money can help pay for things like nutrition, training camp and paying for their coach.”

CAN Fund is a national program and has financially supported more than a dozen Olympians from Kelowna, including Jerome Blake, John Gay, Kelsey Serwa and Malindi Elmore.

“To give them this funding right now is a game changer,” Roos said.

Items donated for the silent auction will receive a tax receipt worth fair market value. If you would like to make a financial donation instead to support female athletes, you will also receive a tax receipt and the name of the female athlete you are supporting if you donate here.

Concert will benefit mental health
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 03, 2024 - Get Involved

Photo: Thick as Thieves Entertainment

Thick as Thieves Entertainment is bringing Juno Award-winning JJ Wilde back to Kelowna this fall, and all money raised from the event will go to supporting young adult mental health.

The event, JJ Wilde: All My Vices Tour Charity Benefit Concert, will be held at BNA Brewing on Friday, Oct. 25. All ticket and sponsored revenue will be donated to Kelowna’s Third Space Charity.

“Our annual fundraiser is based around live music because music is a powerful tool for mental health,” Third Space Charity executive director Megan Woodruff said in a press release. “Bringing people together can help with feelings of loneliness and foster connection. We want people to come out to the show and make some fun memories with their favourite people.”

Wilde last performed in Kelowna during Denim on the Diamond in 2021. She recently released a five-song EP called Best of Me (Part 1).

“We thought JJ would be a great fit for this event as we have worked with her before and she openly writes about her own journey with mental health,” Thick as Thieves co-founder Mitch Carefoot said. “She has also offered to do a private more intimate acoustic pre-show for VIP ticket buyers, which we are all excited about.”

Tickets for the benefit concert will go on sale this Friday (June 7) on the event website here.

Habitat 50/50 jackpot soars
Rob Gibson - May 29, 2024 - Get Involved

Photo: Habitat for Humanity Okanagan
Linda Farr, left, accepts the cheque from Habitat for Humanity Okanagan CEO Andrea Manifold.

If you’re looking for a way to do something nice for others and yourself, look no further than the Habitat for Humanity 50/50 lottery.

Last December, Linda Farr took home the biggest jackpot in the lottery’s history, winning more than $33,000.

This year, the jackpot has blown way past that and is approaching the $50,000 mark as the draw date of July 2 nears.

“This is a feel-good lottery, because ticket buyers already know they are supporting local families in need of affordable housing and they have far greater odds to win thousands of dollars, possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars if the lottery were to sell out, so there’s a whole lotto reasons to play our You Win, We Build 50/50 lottery,” Habitat for Humanity Okanagan’s Danielle Smith said.

Look for chances to buy your tickets at Okanagan summer events like the Peach City Beach Cruise in Penticton and the Vernon Sunshine Festival. Tickets can also be bought online.

“When Habitat first launched their online 50/50 lottery in 2020, the jackpots tended to be around the $3,000 range each draw, but now, as Okanagan communities have become more aware of this local lottery, the last two cash prizes have hit over $30,000,” Smith said.

Tickets are five for $25, 20 for $50 or 100 for $100.

The winner will be notified by email and/or phone with instructions on how to claim the prize.

JCI hosting annual food drive
Chelsea Powrie - May 22, 2024 - Get Involved

Photo: Castanet

JCI Penticton is looking forward to hosting its seventh annual Valley Food Drive this weekend.

On Saturday (May 25) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Cherry Lane Mall parking lot, the public is welcome to come on down with donations of food and hygienic products.

Every year JCI—Junior Chamber International—chooses a different charity to support. This year all donations are going to the Ooknakane Friendship Centre.

“We chose the Ooknakane Friendship Centre because of their dedication to their mission to deliver accessible programs and services that support Indigenous peoples living in urban areas and away from home to achieve their vision of health, wellness, and prosperity,” JCI Penticton said in a press release.

“During the difficult times with the increased cost of living, specifically the cost of food, we want to make a positive impact in the community. We encourage businesses and individuals alike to donate. We have brought on a sponsor, Total Restoration, that will help us with transportation of all the donations.”

Total Restorations also has a bin set up at its location for donations leading up to the event.

“We encourage other businesses that want to make an impact to contact our committee chair Kriss Campbell at [email protected] about having a box for donations for their employees or customers.”

All are welcome at the event on Saturday. Anyone looking to volunteer, meet some people and make an impact can find out more here.

Nearly $1M raised for KGH
Rob Gibson - May 16, 2024 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

The numbers are in for the KGH Day of Giving.

The eighth annual charity event raised $927,707.07 in a one day call to action.

“Every gift helps,” KGH Foundation CEO Allison Young said in a press release. “And every gift is a building block supporting better cancer care here at KGH and in our community.”

Many people whose lives have been touched by cancer turned out to donate and share their stories.

“A cancer diagnosis is unnerving,” said Debbie Robert, who lost her husband Leo to cancer last year. “It just pulls the rug out from underneath you. But as we continue to advance cancer care here at KGH and in our community through initiatives like the KGH Day of Giving, we can have the peace of mind in knowing that if this disease touches you or someone you love, you will be under the best care, close to home.”

Robert, along with hundreds of community members in the Central Okanagan, showed their support for advancements in cancer care at KGH in the areas of medical imaging, pathology, surgical oncology and innovation. Thanks to six generous, local families, all gifts were matched up until midnight.

“The generosity and support of this community never ceases to amaze me,” Young said. “It is so heartwarming to put out the call for support and to have so many people and local businesses answer with a resounding, ‘Yes, we’ll help,’ whether that’s through a monetary gift, a gift of time or a gift of story. We are so grateful for the support and so are our health care staff at KGH.”

This year, the Sprott-Shaw Change Bandits brought their mascot, Sprotty the Bear, to the party. Other familiar faces dropped by in support of the KGH Day of Giving including KGH Foundation vice-chairwoman Janine Karlsen, KGH Foundation board director Manik Dhir and Kelowna city councillor Maxine DeHart.

Lindsay Taberner, executive director of clinical operations for KGH said, “What the KGH Foundation and the community is supporting here makes me so excited for the future. It supports our ability to come together and bring forward new ideas and plans to facilitate real change that has an impact for cancer care patients now and into the future. It is both incredibly touching and exciting.”

Since its inception eight years ago, and including today’s total, KGH Day of Giving has raised more than $5.4 million in support of Kelowna General Hospital and community health care initiatives such as Foundry Kelowna, JoeAnna’s House and the acquisition of a 3T MRI for KGH.

The ongoing success of the annual fundraiser is a testament to the care, enthusiasm and generosity of the community, businesses and frontline caregivers to come together in support of a shared goal.

The KGH Foundation thanks its hourly KGH Day of Giving corporate sponsors Sandrine, Sprott Shaw College, ReMax Kelowna’s Darcy Nyrose, Kelowna Pita Pit locations, Save-On-Foods and Urban Fare, Tim Hortons and the Rotary Club of Kelowna Okanagan Mission for their support.

The KGH Foundation is also grateful for the continued support and partnership of the local Bell Media radio stations—Virgin 99.9, MOVE 101.5 and AM 1150—the on-air personalities, producers and promotions teams for their critical role in the success of the Day of Giving fundraising effort.

Breweries to support athletes
Josh Dawson - May 10, 2024 - Get Involved

Local Paralympic gold medallist Greg Stewart has brought together five Kamloops breweries to craft a unique golden ale in a bid to raise money for Canadian athletes.

Iron Road Brewing, The Noble Pig, Red Collar, Alchemy Brewing Company and Bright Eye Brewing will be collaborating on a new limited batch of Shot of Gold after the fundraiser raised over $14,000 in 2022.

Stewart said proceeds raised will go to the Canadian Athletes Now Fund, which provides Olympic and Paralympic athletes with an $8,000 grant.

“CanFund is a an organization that supports Olympic and Paralympic athletes with an $8,000 gift, which typically goes to all their training and whatnot,” Stewart told Castanet Kamloops.

“Now that I’ve returned out of retirement, I’ve been training for about six months, funds will go and help support my Paralympic journey, hopefully to get back into Paris, but also maybe help push me forward to competing in L.A. 2028.”

He said the funds help athletes cover the costs of training, transportation and accommodations among other expenses.

“When I returned from Tokyo in 2021, there was there’s no money attached to the medals. Whereas if you were an Olympic medalist you were given $20,000,” Stewart said,

“Fast forward to March 2024. We finally are now in a place where Olympic and Paralympic athletes receive the same amount of funding if they medal at the Paralympic Games. So we’re definitely moving in the right direction, but there’s still definitely still a lot of things that are missing in terms of how we support our Paralympic athletes.”

Iron Road will be brewing this year’s batch. They say they’ll be doubling the amount this year, brewing a total of 1,600 bombers, 4,000 cans and dozens of kegs of the ale.

Aaron MacInnis, Iron Road’s head brewer, said the five breweries got together to come up with an ale they felt best represented their collective pallets, deciding on a Kölsch.

“Kölsh is a German style ale. So you’re essentially making like a pilsner but you’re using a German ale yeast. Still clean, but it’s a little bit faster and a little bit tastier, some might say,” MacInnis said.

Iron Road co-owner Jared Tarswell said the breweries wanted to create something collaboratively and embodies the spirit of the community.

“The first time was a massive success, It sold out in like a week,” Tarswell said.

“The biggest complaint was nobody could find it, though. So hopefully we can remedy that.”

Shot of Gold will be officially launched on June 22 at the Noble Pig. The ticketed event will include a silent auction and raffles to raise funds for CanFund.

After coming out of retirement and spending six months training, Stewart said he would be heading to Japan next week to compete at the World Championships.

He said his training has been going well so far, and despite some of the challenges now that he’s older he’s been enjoying it.

“I have a different workout with a different group of people now, different coaching, different physio, all that kind of stuff,” Stewart said.

“So a lot of that has changed but it’s I think it’s for the best again because I’m an older athlete.”

According to Stewart, around 900 athletes applied for CanFund funding and he said the organization is attempting to support 600 to 700 of them this year.

Big donation for OC gym
Okanagan Edge Staff - May 07, 2024 - Get Involved

Photo: Okanagan College
Alex and Ruth Recsky

The family of the man who played a huge role in recreation development at Okanagan College has made a significant donation to the institution’s new gym.

Alex Recsky was OC’s first recreation and intramurals programmer, starting in the role in 1986, and spent the next 10 years advancing recreation at the college until his retirement.

His family is honouring Alex and his wife, Ruth, by donating $30,000 to the Thrive Here campaign that will fund OC’s new recreation and wellness centre.

“My dad’s life philosophies were to build lasting relationships and to serve the community,” Alex’s son, Keith Recsky, said in a press release. “One way to do both was to get involved in recreational and sporting activities.”

Alex and Ruth, who are both in their 90s, made sure their children got involved in sports and recreation, and that has since been passed on to the next two generations as well.

“All four generations of our family have been involved with sports of all kinds in Kelowna, some more serious than others,” Alex’s grandson, Kyle Recsky said. “Many of our most memorable moments come when we are at arenas, gyms, and outdoor spaces.”

Cliff and Lois Serwa, who are honorary chairs for the Thrive Here campaign, are offering to match all donations up to $500,000.

“We are moved by the Recsky family’s thoughtful gift,” Okanagan College Foundation executive director Helen Jackman said. “They understand how a space like this will teach students how to build friendships, overcome challenges and truly discover who they are.

“The Recsky family’s passion for what recreation does for people will come to life in this new centre.”

More than $9 million has been raised for the $14 million facility.

Smile Cookies now on sale
Okanagan Edge Staff - May 02, 2024 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Last year the Tim Hortons Smile Cookie campaign helped provide more than 435,000 healthy snacks to YMCA child care participants in the southern Interior.

This year the goal is even higher.

Every cent of Smile Cookies sales in Kelowna and West Kelowna this week will support the YMCA of Southern Interior BC Healthy Snacks program. The campaign started on Monday and will wrap up on Sunday.

“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,” YMCA marketing and philanthropy vice-president Tammie Watson said in a press release. 

“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.”

Last year’s campaign raised a dollar amount of $59,908, which allowed for the purchase of 437,570 healthy snacks.

“Communities coming together during these difficult times is more important than ever,” said Angelo and Dawn Fiacco, who own the Tim Hortons in West Kelowna’s Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre.

“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.”

You can even order your Smile Cookies here.

Couple gives $100K to hospital
Chelsea Powrie - May 02, 2024 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

Cancer care in the South Okanagan continues to be bolstered by dedicated philanthropic donors.

The South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation announced private donors Herb and Pat Wycherley have added $100,000 to the ongoing $10 million oncology campaign at Penticton Regional Hospital.

The donation follows a previous gift to the South Okanagan General Hospital in 2019, and comes on the heels of losing a close friend to cancer.

“The need for enhanced oncology services hits close to home for us, and we are honoured to support the oncology campaign and contribute towards bringing cancer care closer to our community. We encourage fellow community members to join us in supporting this cause,” the pair said in a press release.

For more information about the oncology campaign or to contribute, click here.

Elvises raise $3.5K for firefighters
Okanagan Edge Staff - Apr 19, 2024 - Get Involved

Photo: Contributed

It was a rockin’ good time on March 8 in West Kelowna, where a pair of Elvis Presley tribute artists raised $3,500 for the Kelowna and West Kelowna Professional Firefighters Charitable Society.

Two Kings: Elvis Live in Concert was a fundraising concert featuring Jimmy Holmes and West Kelowna’s DJ Dodge, known in real life as Darryl Dudek. Uptown Hornz, and Cadillac Kings and Queens also performed for the crowd.

DJ Dodge recently presented the $3,500 fundraising cheque to Kyle Jacobson, who serves as chairman of the Kelowna Professional Firefighters Charitable Society.

“We were gracious enough to be contacted by DJ/Darryl after the fires,” Jacobson said. “He really wanted to show his appreciation and chose to make a donation to our charitable societies. It was an honour to have the net proceeds from the concert going to our charities.

“The concert was a world class, high energy Vegas show. Our charities are, of course, non-profit, and in Kelowna we run many programs, including our healthy snack program, which provides snacks to kids in need in nine local elementary schools.”

Dodge also gave kudos to Mike Schell and Marc Walker for their work behind the scenes to make the concert a successful one. Dodge donated co-produced the event, donated his time and performance fee, and topped up the fundraising total as well.

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