Pamela Hanson (left) and Lyndi Cruickshank are asking for the public’s help in providing warm clothing and blankets as part of the Warm Up the Winter for Those in Need campaign. Mark Brett/Western News

Warm Up for Winter drive expands to cover the South Okanagan

Penticton clothing drive for those in need expands to the whole South Okanagan

An all-too-important program to keep those in need warm over the winter is expanding outside the borders of Penticton with the help of the South Okanagan Real Estate Board.

The Warm Up for Winter drive is the new name for the fundraiser, taking over for what would have been the ninth year of the Cover with Kindness program.

Related: Board warms up to the task of running Cover with Kindness

“(The program) has been a part of the community for eight years, and it would be a shame for such a worthy program to go away when there’s still a need for it,” said Dawn Lysholt, the executive officer of SOREB.

“For the last eight years, it was run by the Soupateria Society. Greg Litwin, who was a director, approached the real estate board and asked if we would be interested in taking it over,” said Lysholt. “Last year was the first time we participated, alongside them, and now this year we have fully taken it over.”

The Warm Up for Winter blanket and clothing drive begins on Oct. 24 and makes Litwin’s dream of expanding it to the whole South Okanagan a reality. The charity drive aims to gather up supplies for those in need of warmer clothing as the temperatures drop.

Related: Donations critical for Cover with Kindness this season

Winter boots are one of the things most often asked for, but they are looking for blankets, towels and sleeping bags as well.

Long underwear, pants, coats and other warm winter wear and equipment are all accepted. The donated items will then be distributed to the community.

“It’s not only for people without shelter, but also for low income families and all those in need,” said Lysholt.

The drive runs until Nov. 23, with distribution of the gathered donations to happen shortly after the drive finishes. Donations can be made at SOREB’s office at 103 – 3310 Skaha Lake Rd., from Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Royal LePage Locations West Realty at 484 Main St. from Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; RE/MAX Penticton Realty 101 – 3115 Skaha Lake Rd. from Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Century 21 Amos Realty 104 – 383 Ellis St. from Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; or at Coldwell Banker Okanagan Realty 101 -1873 Main St. from Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We’re also getting support from the City of Penticton for the bins we’ll be using. We’re sending out to the Apex community for any of their jackets and clothes that they’re willing to donate, and we have support from the community,” said Lysholt.

Distribution will be on Nov. 27 and 28 at St. Saviour’s Church on Orchard Avenue in Penticton.

“As realtors, we’re part of the community, and we like to help out and give back to the community as much as we can.” said Lysholt.

If you have a donation and are unable to make it to a drop site, you can call SOREB at 250-492-0626 and arrange a pick-up for any items.

Donations can also be made in Summerland at the RE/MAX Orchard Country office (13012 Victoria Rd. from Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In Osoyoos, donations can be made at the Royal LePage Desert Oasis Realty (8512 Main St.) from Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Those living in the Apex area can drop off donations at the Apex Mountain Resort main office.

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