Eat organic? Sleep organic!
Contributed - 12:01 am - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

Back in the day, most mattresses were made of natural materials, and what we ate was much the same: no GMOs, hormones, antibiotics and very little processed foods.

Then, in 1967, everything changed. Polyurethane foam was introduced into our lives, and plastics became more prevalent. We all started sleeping on toxic goo and synthetic materials. Cancer rates and respiratory issues rose exponentially almost overnight. Coincidence?

The last couple of decades have seen a return to natural and organic foods as people realize that good health starts in our kitchens. Unfortunately, we can’t stop there. The bedroom is as important to our health. We’ve made great strides with medical advancements, new drugs and technology, yet more and more people are getting sicker per capita—not just because of population growth.

One of the most advertised memory-foam mattress brands in the market introduces the sleeper to more than 61 volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Twenty per cent of them are known carcinogens, and four of them are benzenes. If that’s not enough, it emits formaldehyde. The memory foam made overseas is even worse. Imagine sleeping seven to eight hours a night, or a third of your life, on a mattress that is slowly poisoning you.

“With good health being one of our main concerns, we see more of our clients looking for greener options,” Sleepy’s manager Carling McLeary says. “Unfortunately, the term ‘organic’ is thrown around loosely. Customers recently visiting our store believed they bought a queen-sized organic mattress for $399 from a large mattress store, just because it had ‘organic cotton’ embossed on the fabric.”

The natural and organic mattress and bedding categories continue to grow in popularity, and Sleepy’s has focused on bringing in only the best in each category for their customers.

“Our latest introduction takes our organic mattress and bed linen offerings to the next level,” Sleepy’s owner Geoff McLeary says. “We have partnered with Organic Mattress Inc., the first global organic textile standard-certified eco-factory in North America and the only organic mattress maker that offers a purity guarantee. OMI is the only company in North America that sanitizes for purity by ozone, uses treated air and is audited randomly four times a year.

“Each mattress is made by hand, offers two-sided variable firmness, and we are backed by a 20-year warranty. We have showcased four of their popular certified organic mattresses in different price points, including the Pinnacle, which they consider to be a lifetime mattress. We are very excited to offer our clients only the best in certified organic.”

Your bed is a very personal space that encases your bodies, much like a cocoon. The bedding that surrounds you should be breathable, acclimatizing to each sleeper, naturally anti-microbial, made with naturally sourced fibres and not treated with any chemicals. The McLearys have hand-picked a beautiful collection of green to organic pillows, sheet sets, natural duvets, mattresses and mattress toppers to complete the cocoon.

If organic options are on your radar, Sleepy’s advises you to do your research and let common sense prevail.

Tourism at your fingertips
Contributed - Mar 19, 2019 - Think Local

Touch Tourism is taking off like a rocket, and it is looking for businesses to come along for the ride.

The Kelowna-based digital advertising technology company started only nine months ago, but it has already attracted nearly 41,000 users who have produced more than 158,000 page views.

The platform used is called VIKE (pronounced VICK-ee), which is an acronym for Visitor Information Kiosk Experience. VIKE allows Okanagan visitors to easily search for the area’s top tourist destinations and experiences. Touch Tourism is putting out the call for businesses to join the list of local attractions that can be found on its screens this summer and beyond.

The kiosks have been installed at hotels, visitor information centres, museums and art galleries from Penticton to Vernon, and the number in service has doubled from 24 at the end of last August to 48 today.

“For local businesses that are looking for some more exposure, particularly in the tourist market, our locations are predominantly hotel lobbies and tourist information centres,” Touch Tourism founder Luke Weller says. “We’re a local directory for people staying in those locations or even just passing by those locations to find local businesses, to find activities, to find wineries, to find kids’ fun.”

There are several other attractive features about Touch Tourism, including its ability to create real-time data, its positive impact on the environment and providing hotels with valuable information for its guests. Tourists can click on a business and send a “digital brochure” to their phones that contains all necessary information.

“What we’re doing is reducing paper advertising and focusing more on getting local companies to invest in digital advertising rather than increasing paper waste and increasing the tourism industry’s carbon footprint,” Weller says. “The way we’re doing that is by offering what we call a digital brochure. So when somebody goes onto our screens, within two or three touches they’re able to send themselves a text message or an e-mail with a digital brochure of the company that they choose.

“Effectively you’re reducing paper waste. Paper brochures … where do they end up? They end up on a bench in the lobby or in the back seat of a taxi or in the bottom of a garbage can. We’re trying to do our part with sustainable tourism.”

Weller is also hoping to do business with local tourism associations by providing them with data that is collected with each touch of a screen. Touch Tourism, for example, can see when and where people are looking for wineries in West Kelowna.

“We’re surveying people constantly,” Weller says. “We’re finding out where they are, what time they’re looking for things to do and what they’re looking for every minute of the day.”

Touch Tourism has also teamed up with Castanet, which provides weather and local events for the platform.

Giselle will take breath away
Contributed - Mar 18, 2019 - Think Local

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The Great Russian Ballet is coming back to Kelowna next month, and this time it will be performing “one of the most breathtaking ballet productions” in history.

Giselle, which was created in 1884 for the Imperial Russian Ballet, will be on stage at Kelowna Community Theatre for two performances on April 7. The times are 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., and tickets can be purchased here.

“The audience in Kelowna is amazing and so much into ballet, reading the story during the performance and appreciating the beauty of it,” The Great Russian Ballet director Vio Balan says. “We were doing so well in sales that a week ago we decided to add a second show for our Kelowna friends who we will be delighted to see at our performances again.

“Enjoy a fantastic journey through epically decorated sets, fabulous costumes and a masterful choreography that leads the heart through this touching and deeply romantic love story.”

Giselle is about a young peasant woman seduced by a prince who hides his noble origins. It is soon discovered that the prince has a fiancee, and Giselle dies of a broken heart. She returns in the second act as one of the Wilis—the spirits of young women betrayed by their lovers—whose mission it is to dance any man they encounter to his death. When the prince visits Giselle’s grave, the story does not unfold how you would expect.

“With its irresistible combination of a heart-breaking story and exquisite choreography, Giselle is the perfect way to discover classical ballet,” Balan says.

Balan says two of the most accomplished dancers who have performed the role of Giselle are the “world-famous” Petra Conti and Nadya Ivanova, who are The Great Russian Ballet’s principal ballerinas. Ivanova, who trained in the historic Perm ballet academy and has performed most of the classical ballet principal roles on the biggest stages across the world, will be playing the role of Giselle in Kelowna.

“The role of Giselle is one of the most sought-after characters in ballet. It demands both technical perfection and outstanding grace, as well as great dramatic skill,” Balan says. “(Ivanova) will be joined by an all-star cast of 40 highly skilled ballet dancers, mostly from Moscow, all trained in the Vaganova method.”

Vampire facial safe, effective
Contributed - Mar 12, 2019 - Think Local

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Have you heard of the vampire facial?

While it may seem like something out of a bad thriller movie, it’s actually a thrillingly great treatment for the face.

A vampire treatment, otherwise known as PRP therapy for the face, is an anti-aging skin treatment that works by concentrating the healing power and regeneration of skin through activation of platelets.

The results of PRP treatment for the face include improved skin texture and tone, reduced appearance of dark circles under the eyes, reduced appearance of fine lines and healthy, glowing skin.

We know these results are wanted by almost everyone when they look in the mirror. So what are you waiting for?

Kelowna’s Dr. Chelsea Gronick offers PRP treatment, and there are five reasons why it would be worth your time.

1. The vampire facial is safe

When we say PRP, we are referring to platelet-rich plasma, which we often refer to as “nature’s anti-aging and healing miracle.” Platelets are cells in the blood that help tissues heal and grow healthy new cells. PRP injections for the face promote the body’s own collagen to grow and regenerate new tissue. When this happens, it results in smoothing and tightening of the skin. Other ways to use the healing potential of your own PRP include injections to the scalp with PRP for hair loss and to joints, ligaments and tendons that are injured or damaged.

A vampire facial is safe on all skin types. There are no allergic reactions because your body will not reject your own blood.

It starts with a simple blood draw to extract out the PRP. Using a PRP MicroPen, these growth factors are introduced deeper into the dermal layer of the skin. This is where stem cells will get activated to grow new tissues, resulting in younger skin.

2. PRP injections are natural

In a world full of unnatural procedures, the vampire facial/PRP skin treatment is 100 per cent natural. As mentioned above, the technology simply uses your body’s own anti-aging growth factors to increase collagen production.

Some fillers can have the effect of looking uneven or unnatural. But with PRP injections, it doesn’t look overdone and the effects are long-lasting.

No surgery, botox or fillers are required for beautiful, young-looking skin.

3. The vampire facial treatment is an easy procedure

There’s nothing to be nervous about when coming into the office to see Dr. Gronick for your first vampire facial treatment. Lay back and relax in the clean and modern rooms while she works her magic.

One micro-needle therapy treatment will take years off your face in less than an hour. Dr. Gronick uses the Eclipse MicroPen, which is FDA approved. The treatment is most commonly done on the face but can be done on many different parts of the body including scalp, neck, decollete, arms, hands, legs, abdomen and back.

When you receive the micro-needling part of the PRP treatment, a topical numbing cream will be applied to your skin. A sterile needle tip containing 12 micro-needles is then attached to the Eclipse MicroPen. Then a combination of hyaluronic acid and your PRP are applied to your skin. In one motion, the pen will be gently pressed against your skin while gliding in one direction.

Once the treatment area has been fully covered, the PRP treatment is finished.

Cleansing, numbing and the blood draw are done at the start of the procedure, and then the micro-needling takes 15 to 30 minutes.

4. Micro-needle therapy doesn’t hurt

With the use of anesthesia, micro-needle therapy is essentially painless. People compare the feeling of the treatment to light sandpaper being moved across the skin or even a simple, deep exfoliation.

The speed of the PRP injection MicroPen reduces the discomfort in even the most sensitive areas.

5. It requires zero downtime

This speaks for itself. There are some treatments that will have a long recovery period with bruising sometimes happening, but with the vampire facial there is next to no downtime. This means you can carry on with your regular routine, right away, as soon as you leave the office.

You may notice a redness to the face and a tightening of the skin right after your PRP injections, and that can last up to 48 hours.

Quality skin care products are recommended to help speed up the healing process and to provide moisture to the skin’s surface.

Many patients notice an immediate glow once they have a vampire facial at Dr. Gronick’s office. Additional texture and changes to the skin develop over the following days, with results continuing to improve up to six months after the PRP treatment.

You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Gronick, who will go over the vampire facial with you and the other benefits of micro-needling by easily booking your treatment online or by phoning the office at 778-478-0048 and speaking with her patient care co-ordinators.

Help blaze a trail for wish kids
Contributed - Mar 07, 2019 - Think Local

This isn’t your average, everyday walk for a cause.

This is an event in which you will have to jump in with both feet. It will bring you satisfaction, and, more importantly, it will help make wishes come true for those who need them most.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of B.C. and the Yukon is conducting the Trailblaze Challenge this September. It’s a 40-kilometre walk through Manning Park for between 75 and 100 participants who will be required to raise $2,000 each for the cause.

“We have wish kids who come from all pockets of B.C. and the Yukon,” Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon marketing director Stuart Chase says. “These kids are your neighbours. These are your kids’ friends at school. Sometimes they’re seen. Sometimes they’re not. As a basic human principle, we just believe that we all have the ability to help raise each other up, and Trailblaze is a unique way to make a contribution.

Photo: Contributed

“In doing a walk like this, you also have the chance to push yourself and maybe just experience a tiny slice of the challenge, in the course of one day, that wish kids have to face day after day after day as they go through battling a critical illness.”

The Trailblaze Challenge will take place on Saturday, Sept. 14, but it is a weekend-long event. Participants will arrive on Friday, stay at Manning Park Resort and begin the trek before dawn on Saturday. The fundraising amount covers the stay at the resort.

“We really want people to realize that even though it is 40 kilometres in a day, it’s built into an otherwise very relaxing, inspiring weekend,” Chase says. “The Manning Park Resort is the host for this, so there are great amenities there. There’s going to be great food, the hot tub is waiting for you at the end of it, and the walking course is quite flat. We don’t want people to feel intimidated by the distance and just come on out.”

Make-A-Wish would like to have the field filled by June so registrants can get started on fundraising and train for the event if they so choose. Hike leaders will be provided to coach people through what may seem like an intimidating challenge for some.

“There are the occasional elite trail runners who come along, and they may knock it out in a couple of hours, but for the most part this is about everyday people coming together as teams,” Chase says. “They’ll encourage each other through this, and they’ll spend a really nice day walking in the woods.”

Trailblaze Challenges have been happening in the U.S. for years, but this will be the first one in Canada. Some U.S. Make-A-Wish chapters even have two of them in a year, so the B.C. and Yukon chapter is hoping to grow it into an annual event—or perhaps even a biannual event.

The Challenge is for those from all walks of life. “We certainly hope that all participants will rise to the full challenge and go the 40 kilometres,” Chase says.

However, there will be numerous exit routes along the course if participants have to bow out.

“And that will be OK,” Chase added, “because the main mission is to raise money and make wishes come true for deserving kids.”

Image: Contributed


Your spouse a tax asset?
Contributed - Mar 06, 2019 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

RRSP season just ended, but Prospera Credit Union’s James McCormick, a licensed wealth management professional, believes you should have retirement on your mind more than just at the end of February.

“Retirement planning is a crucial part of a financial plan,” McCormick says. “I like to keep my members up to date regarding all relevant legislation and investment strategies—including those that can help reduce taxes.”

The first strategy McCormick shares relates to a higher income earner contributing to a lower earner’s fund through a spousal RRSP.

“For example, one of my members had an annual RRSP limit of $10,000,” McCormick says. “He could contribute the $10,000 to his personal RRSP or to that of his spouse, who had a significantly lower income. I advised him that if he contributed to his spouse’s RRSP, he would get the tax deduction at a higher rate than his spouse would by contributing to her own RRSP.”

There is a second income splitting strategy to consider if you are 71 or over and receive RRIF income. Depending on the age and income level of your spouse, it may make sense to take 50% of your maximum withdrawal amount and invest it into a spousal RSP.

“I recommended this strategy to one of my members during our recent Personal Investment Plan meeting,” McCormick says. “He was 71, so needed to take minimum withdrawals from his RRIF. His wife was only 68, so she could still hold an RRSP. My member was able to take 50% of his RRIF income—but not the RRIF itself—and invest it into a spousal RRSP.

“This allowed him to reduce his income tax bill that year. Given that his wife is the lower income earner, this also results in a more tax efficient way to maximize the couple’s income at retirement.”

Navigating the RRSP world can be a bit tricky. There are restrictions on how you can use these income splitting strategies, so it’s always wise to talk to someone like McCormick at Prospera. Visit the Prospera website for more information, or call 1-888-440-4480 to book an appointment.

A special kind of pharmacy
Contributed - Mar 04, 2019 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed
(L to R): Adesh Vora RPh., Specialty Rx Solutions president; Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran; Jas Maan RPh., SRx Kelowna Pharmacy manager; Holly Gustavsson, lead pharmacy technician.

SRx Pharmacy is a new kind of health-care provider in downtown Kelowna.

While many other pharmacies are owned by corporations, SRx is pharmacist-owned. That gives patients assurance that their health-care needs are going to be looked after above all else.

“We’re driven by service—not profit,” says Jas Maan, RPh. and Pharmacy Manager of Kelowna’s new SRx Pharmacy.

SRx Pharmacy is an expanding chain that has locations from B.C. to Ontario. Their focus is on the customer, providing fast and personable service to patients.

The Kelowna pharmacy is located at 104-1360 Ellis St., right next to the library. Maan believes it’s a great location for many who live downtown or in the surrounding areas to get their pharmacy needs met by knowledgeable and engaging staff.

“We’re within walking distance of pretty much anyone in downtown, and we can easily transfer in your medications for you with a quick phone call,” Maan says.

You don’t have to leave your home, however, to patronize SRx Pharmacy, as it will deliver your prescriptions directly to your door. Maan and his team, which also includes registered technician Holly Gustavsson, also provide “blister packing,” which is separating your pills into when they need to be taken and making the process very easy to remember.

“It’s tough for anybody,” Maan says. “If you’re taking a medication you have to take twice a day and multiply that by several other meds, it can get hard to follow, and we can help with that.

“Things get missed, and therapeutic outcomes suffer. We can provide that blister packing service to make things easier, and we can bring it right to their home.”

SRx Pharmacy specializes in a variety of other services, including flu shots, vaccinations and even addiction counselling. It also does free medication reviews, where Maan or another specialized pharmacist will review any and all medications you’re taking to make sure they are working well together.

They are the pharmacy of the future.  They do all the traditional pharmacy work as well as provide specialized services including addiction therapy treatment.

One of their main focuses of specialty includes dealing with newer, more expensive forms of treatment. Although these treatments can have incredible therapeutic outcomes, they can be hard to get covered by BC Pharmacare and by private insurance plans. That’s where SRx Pharmacy steps in to help while also providing specialty counselling of these medications.

To keep things simple, here are some of the main services SRx Pharmacy has to offer:

• Filling any prescription from any Canadian prescriber
• All drug plans are accepted
• Free medication reviews from specially trained pharmacists
• Specialized addiction services (nicotine replacement therapy, opioid agonist therapy)
• Flu shots, vaccinations and travel medicine
• Free blister packing of medications
• Fast and friendly service from knowledgeable staff

Bennett to aid boom
Contributed - Feb 21, 2019 - Think Local

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The City of Kelowna’s long-term community plan is for aggressive densification instead of urban sprawl.

That means the arrival of Bennett Land Surveying in Kelowna could not have come at a better time.

Bennett Land Surveying is an industry leader in surveying for large projects, which are becoming commonplace in Kelowna and the Okanagan. The long list of sophisticated projects Bennett Land Surveying has worked on includes the Sea to Sky Gondola, which put Squamish on the map as one of the “52 Places to Go,” according to the New York Times. It also surveyed for the unique Vancouver House, designed by Westbank Corp’s Bjarke Ingels.

“Now that Bennett Land Surveying is calling Kelowna home, we can draw on all the expertise and experience we’ve gained from decades of surveying across B.C.,” Bennett Kelowna branch manager Wayne Brown says. “As the Kelowna area looks at densification as opposed to growing more outward, Bennett offers the full range of land surveying services required for multi-use and commercial projects.

“We want to support developers and individuals in the Okanagan with the expertise that we’ve gained with projects like Vancouver House, so they can succeed stress-free.”

There are several condominium towers already on the rise in Kelowna, and several more are to follow. The city is also in the midst of creating a final plan for the Capri-Landmark development, which will result in a complete makeover of the area just east of downtown. The projects represent only the start of what will be unprecedented growth in the Okanagan’s largest city.

Brown believes Bennett Land Surveying is just what the new Kelowna will need, as it brings to the Okanagan the leading-edge technology and expertise it has already provided to the rest of the province.

Bennett Land Surveying has taken over the Van Gurp and Company Surveying office on St. Paul Street in downtown Kelowna. In an interesting twist, Brown long ago used to work for Henk Van Gurp, who retired and sold his business to Bennett Land Surveying.

“When I started surveying, I started up in Fort St. John,” Brown says. “I’m a bit younger than Henk, but I actually worked for Henk for part of a summer.”

Brown hopes to hire more employees as the spring surveying season picks up—perhaps bringing in the young person who will go on to run the Bennett Land Surveying Kelowna office decades down the road.

The following is a list of services Bennett Land Surveying provides:

• Strata plans
• Subdivision plans
• Statutory Rights of Way/Easement plans
• Construction packages
• Topographical surveys
• Property boundary surveys
• Building location certificates
• Air space plans and more

A showroom like no other
Contributed - Feb 11, 2019 - Think Local

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What started out as a minor project to inject some life into its showroom evolved into quite the renovation for Trail Appliances.

Now they have a sparkling, brand new, 12,000 square-foot showroom that separates the Kelowna appliance specialist from anyone else in the Okanagan.

“We now have eight full and complete inspirational designed kitchens with almost every appliance powered and live,” Trail Appliances general manager Mike Speckman says. “People can see the menu systems, see how the controls work, see how they light up, hear what kind of sounds they make and really experience what those appliances might look like and how they might function in their own home. We call it the Trail test drive.”

Photo: Contributed

The original plan was to do a little painting, change the carpet and maybe add a few new fixtures. Instead, Trail Appliances partnered with local tradespeople, designers, cabinet builders, electricians and engineers to create a showroom like no other. It’s an open space with large walkways, soft light when you walk in, soft wood tones and bright lights that accentuate the appliances.

“I’d call it perfect, really,” Speckman says. “Customers can now get the best of both worlds with an amazing shopping experience and competitive pricing. When you put the two of them together, we don’t think anybody else can match that.”

Consumers need not be concerned that the prices are comparable to the atmosphere, as Speckman says Trail carries more than 50 brands of appliances at price points that are affordable for everyone.

“We want to make sure people don’t walk in and think, ‘I’m going to be paying more for our appliances because the showroom looks really nice.’ That’s not the case,” he says. “We’re competitive with everybody in the market place. Our prices are on our website, and we look to maximize customers’ opportunities to save wherever possible. Ultimately, we’re there to guide a customer into making the right decisions for their home and lifestyle.

“It’s not uncommon for customers to come in with an expectation of what they want and leave with a different appliance package because we’ve discovered what they truly need. Regardless of price, it’s our experience and expertise that help customers make the right choice, and the result is a happy customer with confidence in their purchase.”

Their product experts are trained thoroughly and even travel to the factories where the appliances are produced to know the ins and outs of each appliance. The renovation also resulted in comfortable transaction areas for customers and more office space for its sales team, which deals with everything from single item replacement purchases to home renovations and new construction.

Trail also has a dedicated builder division for single and multi-family builder developments.

“We cater to all types of customers and their needs.” Speckman says, “We want to inspire possibilities, make shopping ridiculously easy, and help create special moments at home.”

Trail Appliances may seem like another big-box store, but it is Canadian owned and family operated, and that gives Speckman a sense of pride.

“Other retailers who carry a variety of products and services in addition to appliances can’t match the experience or knowledge we offer, but we’ll be just as competitive as them on price,” Speckman says.

“If you stop to think about that, realizing that pricing is comparable, why not trust your purchase with a family owned and operated Canadian company? It’s a value that nobody in the Okanagan other than Trail can boast about.”

Sally’s Pantry needs you
Contributed - Feb 08, 2019 - Think Local

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A woman came into The Salvation Army Community Life Centre recently and said she had nothing left in her fridge or cupboards to feed her family.

“Unfortunately, our appointments were completely booked, so we had no way to provide a casework appointment at that point,” says Darryl Burry, the Lead Pastor and Executive Director at the Central Okanagan Salvation Army. “We always provide people with something. They never leave our offices empty-handed.

“However, due to Sally’s Pantry being open at the time, she was able to come in and select some perishable groceries for her family. There was dairy, deli and produce that she was able to take home and make sure that everyone was going to be well fed.”

Sally’s Pantry, which opened Jan. 28, is a free, drop-in, perishable-food market for all community members. The Salvation Army receives the goods from local grocery stores through a company called Food Mesh, which reclaims food that is still suitable for consumption but can’t be displayed in grocery stores. Prior to this partnership, these food items were destined for the landfill.

The issue of wasted food from grocery stores has become contentious in recent years, and now organizations like The Salvation Army are fixing two problems at once.

“We’ve been working towards developing something along this line for years, and then along comes an organization called Food Mesh,” Burry says.

“They have been hired by a local grocery store chain to partner with non-profit charities and food banks, to safely find a way to distribute products that are no longer allowed on grocery store shelves but are still good product to share with the community, especially those in need, as quickly as possible.”

Sally’s Pantry is open from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at The Salvation Army Community Life Centre, which is located at 200 Rutland Rd. South. On its first day of operation, Sally’s Pantry received 22 totes that contained 629 pounds of food. Roughly 140 pounds was redirected to local farmers for livestock. Another 30 pounds was composted. The remainder was given to 15 visitors at Sally’s Pantry.

To make this new operation run smoothly, the Salvation Army needs volunteers to either pick up the food, process (or “glean”) it or assist guests as they choose their items.

“We desperately need more volunteers,” Burry said. “We’ve been blessed with some wonderful volunteers who’ve come to the table so far, but we need more to sustain this valuable community project.”

“We encourage people to contact our volunteer desk (250-860-2329 ext. 333) and find out if they can spare even one morning a week, Monday through Sunday. Every contribution, even a few hours a week, helps.”

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