November 22, 2013 - 10:07 AM
A warm coat, winter boots and a toothbrush are everyday items for most people, completely unremarkable in every way. But for many in the Okanagan, they are things that poverty, homelessness and other life circumstances render out of the ordinary.
Nine years ago, that sad reality and an encounter with a small and selfless act of giving brought home to Okanagan College alumna Sarah Comba the power of seemingly slight acts of kindness, inspiring her to initiate the College’s Pay it Forward campaign.
While volunteering with the Gospel Mission, an elderly client refused Comba’s offer of two pairs of socks, insisting that Sarah give one of the pairs to someone else in need.
“It was one of those unforgettable moments that stay with you for a lifetime,” said Comba. “It showed me the potential ripple effect of change. A small act for one person can be a big thing for someone else, which is the whole idea behind Pay it Forward.”
Running until Dec. 6, Pay it Forward volunteers are collecting the following much-needed items at the Okanagan College KLO campus for distribution by Kelowna’s Gospel Mission and Inn from the Cold: new or gently used winter coats, winter boots, mittens and toques; new toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and razors; unwrapped toys for children aged 2 – 16 years; and baby formula, diapers and jars of food.
“The need grows each year because the face of poverty and homelessness in Kelowna is shifting,” Comba said. “There are many working families who are struggling. They may be able to pay the rent or to heat their home, but not both. They can afford some of life’s necessities, but not all.”
“I hear each year how Pay it Forward has helped people. For me, that’s part of what keeps me going. It’s an opportunity to connect with the Kelowna community and help people in need. It’s easy to give and it feels good to do it.”
Donations can be dropped off at the College at1000 KLO Road between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. in the International Education office (main floor, Centre for Learning) or with Athletics and Recreation (A 105 in the Student Services Building). For more information, contact Lynn Johnson or Heather Carson at 250-762-5445.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013