Marianne Dahl

Car seats distributed in region

Dozens of car seats have been made available for Okanagan families that are in need of keeping their young passengers safe.

Dozens of car seats have been made available for Okanagan families that are in need of keeping their young passengers safe.

As part of a Child Safety Initiative pilot project, the United Way Central and South Okanagan-Similkameen took a road trip on Oct. 16 to deliver new car seats to community organizations in six communities – Penticton, Peachland, Summerland, Oliver, Keremeos and Princeton.

The five seats delivered to Summerland were among more than 80 that each cost $165 from Costco, though the retailer assisted the United Way by shaving $1,000 off the bill. Also supporting the initiative is the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation and the Central Okanagan Foundation, as well as Budget Car and Truck Rental, which donated the use of one of its trucks for delivery.

“When you think about how hard families are working and they’re really trying to pull different aspects of their life together and take care of any variety of needs, car seats aren’t cheap, they can expire and sometimes you have one that fits your child and then they outgrow it,” said Tanya Behardien, executive director of Penticton and District Community Resources Society.

To alleviate the costs associated with growing children, the United Way donated car seats that can be adjusted.

“They’re convertible car seats that are good basically from birth to the time they weigh 65 pounds,” said Marianne Dahl, marketing and events coordinator for United Way Central and South Okanagan/Similkameen.

Dahl, who was part of the team to deliver the equipment, said statistics on poverty are difficult to measure, but recalled hearing that 22 per cent of families living in Central and South Okanagan are considered low income.

“There’s a great need in our region, so those that donate to the United Way and other foundations want to give where they live, and this is one way we can give back.”