How you can help a family this Christmas in Kamloops, Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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How you can help a family this Christmas in Kamloops, Okanagan

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November 14, 2020 - 6:00 PM

All Lorri Chamberlain wants for Christmas is community support as a single mother caring for her 10-year-old son and one-year-old grandson.

The Vernon resident has found it challenging to find support through her normal channels during COVID-19. In the past, she’s received help from Project Christmas Elf and the Vernon Children's Christmas Gift House but is hoping for other ways to receive a hand up since both campaigns have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

READ MORE: Thompson Okanagan Christmas markets cancelled, postponed until 2021

Normally Chamberlain works at the shelter in Vernon as a support worker but hasn’t been able to work in the last year and a half in order to take care of her grandson. A mother of four boys, she didn’t want her grandson to go into foster care as her son struggles with addiction, so she took him in, she said.

“I really try not to reach out, because there’s always others that need it more,” she said, adding that she currently has income assistance, but it’s tough looking after her son and grandson, as well as paying rent and getting enough food for everyone. 

The income assistance is currently only supporting her and her son, she said.

Food bank Christmas hamper campaigns in the region and Salvation Army toy campaigns are ramping up for the Christmas season.

“We have had several hundred families already registered," said Kelowna Salvation Army executive director Darryl Burry. And the non-profit is expecting the high demand for food and toys will continue throughout the season.

The Salvation Army is currently conducting a reduced Christmas kettle campaign which has been reduced from 19 locations to 11 this year at stores around the city. The Christmas kettle campaign is also ongoing throughout the region.

“We do need the community support to raise those funds,” Burry said, adding the non-profit has seen a 61 per cent increase of use from families during the pandemic accessing the non-profit’s services.

“It’s been a very heavy load for the past number of months,” he said, adding that fundraising and toy drive events couldn’t be held this year due to the pandemic.

The Coast Capri Hotel will still be accepting toy donations, however.

“We do need new toys, unwrapped, in all age brackets,” he said, adding that The Salvation Army needs community donations for the season. Donations are being accepted online for the winter season and those in need can also register for the food and toy program online until Nov. 30, or by calling the Salvation Army at 250-765-3450.

“We just want to encourage families that if they are struggling a little bit this year with everything that’s happening with COVID-19, we want them to register as soon as possible so we can prepare for (the need) this season,” Burry said.

The Central Okanagan Community Food Bank will provide 2,500 Christmas hampers this year. Last year they gave out 800, said executive director Trevor Maus.

Those in need of a Christmas hamper can call to sign up, and registration will be available online.

Food hampers and Salvation Army toy drives aren’t the only Christmas campaigns going on this year.

If you need a helping hand this Christmas, or are able to help those in need, campaigns are ongoing through the Thompson Okanagan region.

READ MORE: CP Holiday Train will be a virtual fundraiser for food banks this winter


Stocking Stuffers at London Drugs

Stocking Stuffers for Seniors is back for 2020 at all London Drugs locations across Western Canada. For the fourth year in a row, Stocking Stuffers for Seniors partners with local care homes and charities with a mission to bring more holiday cheer to seniors. Any new, non-wrapped gift will be accepted. Donate in-store from Nov. 12 to Dec. 16.

For more information visit the London Drugs website.

Archway Society for Domestic Peace

Helping women and children, this nonprofit is accepting donations of gift cards during the pandemic to help those in need. For more information, to donate, or if you're in need of assistance, visit the nonprofit's website.

Kal Tire Christmas Fundraising Society

For more than 20 years, the Kal Tire Christmas Fundraising Society has provided a hand up to an average of 24 local families each Christmas. The families are referred to the society from local agencies. The Kal Tire volunteers shop, wrap and deliver Christmas to each family. The society provides families with presents for everyone in the home, as well as eight boxes of food to help make the holidays special.

For more information, visit the fundraiser’s website.

All Are Family Outreach

While located in Lake Country, this non-profit will help Vernon residents in need. The non-profit currently has more applications than Christmas hampers this year, and is looking for sponsors.
For more information visit the group’s Facebook page

Sharing is Caring

With the community help, this campaign will assist five North Okanagan families providing them with a Christmas meal and gifts. Donations will be accepted from Nov. 12 - Dec. 10 and the families will be chosen and notified Dec. 15. Organized by Crystal's Baked Blessings, deliveries will be made Dec. 24 and 25. Bottles donated to the Chasers Bottle Depot Sharing is Caring account will go towards donations. For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page.


Christmas Amalgamated

Donate a toy at the Ford dealership to help families in need. All donations will be accepted, from food, to toys, clothing and gift cards. A fundraiser will be held Dec. 14, from 12-7 p.m. at the Pogue Mahone Irish Alehouse.

Purses for Women’s Shelter

For the last three years, local community advocate Patti Phillips has been collecting purses stuffed with essentials to donate to the Women's Shelter at the Emerald House in Kamloops. Donations can be dropped off at the North Shore Business Improvement office by appointment, at Senor Froggy's on the North Shore or Heather's Fabric Shelf.

Purses will be collected until Dec. 16.Call Phillips at 250-376-2411 for more information.

Men’s Clothing

The Men's Shelter at the Emerald House is assisting roughly 90 men a day, according to its website. CANCO and the North Shore Business Improvement Association are collecting new and gently used clothing, as well as new hygiene products for the shelter.

The Mustard Seed

This Christmas, share the gift of a meal and life-transforming hope with your neighbours who are experiencing poverty and homelessness. Donations will help provide holiday meals to guests at The Mustard Seed along with other essential services, like warm clothing and clean facilities during the cold winter months.

To donate or to find out more information about the shelter, visit its website.


Stay at Home Gala

The United Way 70th anniversary Stay at Home Gala is a virtual celebration of its long history of impact on social issues in the Okanagan region. The goal is to raise $70,000 to invest in local programs helping the city’s most vulnerable populations reach their full potential. Join United Way Nov. 19 from 6-9 p.m. from anywhere in the world.

For more information about the gala and to learn about United Way resources, visit United Way’s website

Home for the Holidays

An annual fundraiser that welcomes residents into the homes of Christmas fans is moving to a virtual format this year and will be including a former Bachelorette.

Homes for the Holidays, a fundraiser for the Central Okanagan Hospice Association, has been moved to Nov. 28.

For more information visit the association’s website.

Candy Cane Lane

The annual fundraiser for local non-profits is in need of some assistance this year, helping residents set up decorations. Each year, the annual Rutland tradition sees residents decorate their homes along Collison Road, Gramiak Road and Mary Court to fundraise for the Women’s Shelter and Freedom’s Door. To stay updated on when the event will be held, visit the Candy Cane Lane Facebook page.


Virtual visit with Santa

Sprott Shaw College is collecting donations for its virtual visit with Santa. All proceeds to City Wide School Donation Drive. On Dec. 5, help the college celebrate its 21st annual lunch with Santa. The event is free but if you have any more festive cheer, you can purchase a $5 ticket that will get you a craft kit and a raffle ticket for a chance to win a gift basket. Additional tickets are available for purchase. More information can be found on Facebook.

Dragonfly Pond raffle

Support kids in need this Christmas by taking part in the Dragonfly Pond Raffle. Dragonfly Pond Family Society is hosting a Raffle this Dec. 1 ticket for $10, 3 tickets for $25. Raffle tickets are on sale now until Sun, November 29th. The draw will be done Live in this Facebook event on Monday, Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. More information can be found on the group’s Facebook page

Kot Coat Drive

Those at Penticton Nissan are collecting winter coats until the end of November. The Kot Auto Group comprised of different auto groups in the Thompson Okanagan are collecting coats which will be donated to The Salvation Army.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below or email

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