Help is on its way for a family of five from Ukraine, whose introduction to Penticton will come on the receiving end of one of the community’s longest-running weekly fundraisers.
Pat Wand, along with a local team of volunteers, has collected cans and bottles outside Penticton’s IGA every Saturday for more than 10 years.
This Saturday, Feb. 25, the weekly tradition will be extra special when all proceeds raised from the bottle drive go to support the family upon their arrival in the South Okanagan.
Wand chose to dedicate her weekly efforts to the family of five, in recognition of the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine this Friday, Feb. 24.
She says the family is unaware that proceeds from the bottle drive will go to them.
The parents, along with their teenage daughter, all work part-time jobs in Summerland and Penticton.
Like many today, Wand adds that high rental costs are among the challenges.
In more than a decade, Wand has helped raise more than $400,000 for local charities across the city.
After sorting through thousands of cans and bottles each week, she makes time to go drop everything off at a bottle depot to ensure all funds are collected.
Returnables can be dropped off all week at 740 West Bench Drive or at the IGA parking lot on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
She says they will also accept monetary donations.
Oliver council recently granted $2,500 to the Ukraine Nightingale Project which helps refugee families settle in the South Okanagan.
Similar to Wand’s bottle drive this weekend, money will be used to families set up bank accounts, enroll in schools and cover transportation costs to Kelowna for medical needs.
A number of groups across B.C., including ones in Kelowna and Vernon, are scheduled to acknowledge the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine with a candlelight vigil on Friday night.