Volunteer Pamela Hanson helps Seann Gentray sort through some of the items at the South Okanagan Real Estate Board’s Warm Up for Winter Thursday at St. Saviour’s Hall. (Mark Brett - Western News)

South Okanagan realtors warming their communities

The South Okanagan Real Estate Board distributed the donated items to the needy this week

Coming in out of the brisk fall air into Penticton’s St. Saviour’s Church Hall, Sally is warmly greeted by two volunteers and taken to where there are thermoses of hot chocolate and coffee waiting.

But that’s not all.

The entire room is filled with tables piled high with everything from blankets to winter coats, shoes and even some unmentionables.

Many other people, some who live on the street and others just a little down on their luck, are already inside sorting through the donated items and filling their bags.

READ MORE: SOREB brings back Warm up the Winter campaign

Thursday was the South Okanagan Real Estate Board’s (SOREB) annual Warm Up for Winter distribution day.

“This really means a lot that people care enough to do that, especially now when it’s really starting to get cold out,” said Sally, who asked her last name not be used. “I’m not as bad off as some, that guy over there is out on the streets all the time and has nothing.

“This just really means a lot to everyone.”

The board began collecting the items last month that were dropped off at select realty offices from Summerland to Osoyoos.

“We believe in giving back to our community. There is a need for volunteers, there is a need for support and we’re here to keep this community warm and show our gratitude as realtors to Penticton and how much we care about them,” said organizer and realtor Lori Lancaster, who was behind the counter serving the warm drinks and snacks during the afternoon. “I was really, really worried yesterday that we didn’t have enough and we ended up with two full cube vans, and as you can see, we’ve loaded the church, we actually have too much stuff but it’s going to work out well because it’s all going to the local transition homes when we’re finished.”

READ MORE: Warm Up for Winter drive expands to cover the South Okanagan

The board stepped up in 2018, taking over the program previously called Cover with Kindness that Penticton notary and Soupateria Society director Greg Litwin ran for eight years.

It was decided this year to scale the distribution back to a single day instead of two, and rather than store the leftover items volunteers take them to other facilities that help people in need, like the South Okanagan Women in Need Society (SOWINS).

Seann Gentray was another of those very grateful for the work of the volunteers and the many people who cared enough to donate.

“In this day and age, homelessness is everywhere, people are hurting, people need a friend, you need a sense of belonging,” he said. “Unconditional love actually has no rules, we accept everybody as they are and just remember you could have been in that place.

“I believe we need to invest in each other rather than save each other.”


 

@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


 MarkBrett
Send Mark Brett an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just one of the tables piled high with blankets and clothing at the Warm Up for Winter distribution day by the South Okanagan Real Estate Board at St. Saviour’s Hall, Thursday afternoon. (Mark Brett - Western News)

A lady looks over some the clothing that was available at the Warm Up for Winter day at St. Saviour’s Hall Thursday, organized by the South Okanagan Real Estate Board. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Volunteer and organizer Lori Lancaster of the South Okanagan Real Estate Board serves some hot chocolate to those attending the distribution of the donated items to the Warm Up for Winter Campaign. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Just Posted

Penticton, Kelowna, Osoyoos among most searched travel spots for Canadians

New data from Google shows many Canadians are searching for a vacation in the Okanagan

Roots and Blues online festival live tonight on Black Press Media

Tune in to Black Press Media to watch the festival live Aug. 14, 15 and 16

Okanagan COVID-19 case count growth slows

BCCDC data shows a stark contrast between Okanagan-specific numbers released in July and August

Okanagan Correctional Centre outbreak due to training session: Interior Health

Interior Health said in a statement the staff members were at an off-site training session

Morning Start: A Texas law allows astronauts to vote from space

Your morning start for Friday, August 14, 2020

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Unofficial holidays: here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Aug. 16 to 22

World Photography Day, Black Cat Appreciation Day and Rum Day all coming up this week

Public to weigh in on designs for future of Lake Country waterfront

District is seeking public feedback on the designs for the stretch of waterfront

Interpretive salmon classes at Kingfisher Creek get financial aid

Funds from the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program will help raise Shuswap River salmon awareness

Illegal dumping, yelling at staff: problems at North Okanagan waste facility

Regional district says security cameras have been installed at the Silver Star Transfer Station

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Vernon pedestrian struck dies from injuries

Emergency responders are on scene on Main Street near the CIBC, traffic affected

UPDATE: Fire in Lake Country a “smoke chase”

A water bomber reportedly took off from Penticton and is on the way to Lake Country

Kelowna man convicted of not paying taxes after turbulent trial

Man claims he doesn’t meet the definition of a ‘person’ under the federal Income Tax Act

Most Read