Kamloops girl uses 12th birthday to focus on feeding the hungry - InfoNews

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Kamloops girl uses 12th birthday to focus on feeding the hungry

Izzy Lively-Love with the locks that she and her friends painted. The locks were purchased in support of the Kamloops Food Bank's campaign called Locking in Hope.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED- Valerie Lively
July 10, 2019 - 1:08 PM

KAMLOOPS - Most kids think about what they can get for their birthdays, but this Kamloops girl wanted to see what she could get for others.

Izzy Lively-Love was strolling through Riverside Park with her mother Valerie Lively when she noticed the new Locking in Hope art installation by the Kamloops Food Bank. She asked her mother to purchase locks for her 12th birthday, so a group of her friends could paint them and put them on the installation.

“We looked on the website to find the locks and there was a big list of donations that they need, so I told my mom ‘Well, maybe we can pick up some donations,” she says.

She asked her mom to forget the birthday presents, and take her to the grocery store to pick up donations. They collected 115 pounds of non-perishable items for the food bank, in addition to purchasing seven locks for the Locking in Hope campaign.

Cassie Nolan, office administrator at the Kamloops Food Bank, says this magnitude of donation is unusual for the organization.

“This is for sure one of the largest ones, I know that we've taken some donations where kids, instead of asking for presents, they ask for a toonie or a canned good item... but Izzy’s was great. With 115 pounds, that was definitely awesome and out of the norm,” says Nolan.


In addition to the hefty donation, Izzy and her family donated $140 through their purchase of seven padlocks for the Locking in Hope campaign, according to Nolan. The campaign saw the completion of a steel-mesh art installation at Riverside Park. Locks are offered for $20, which people can then lock on to the structure and dispose of the key. So far, the fundraiser has raised more than $85,000, according to the campaign website.

This isn’t the first time that Lively-Love has swapped gifts for generosity.

“A few years ago when the wildfires were happening, instead of presents for my ninth birthday I asked for donations for the wildfire evacuees,” Lively-Love says.

She looked online at what items were needed for the evacuees and told her family and friends to bring items from that list rather than birthday presents, according to her mom, Valerie Lively.

“A friend of ours was evacuated from Williams Lake and she had met their little girl before, and she was just so sad,” Lively says. “She was so worried about them, and I told her 'well, there are so many people.' She said, ‘We need to help. What can we do?’ She's got a really big heart.”

Nolan points out that some children in the community have an altruistic personality, with some organizing and running food drives at their class, school, or other events.

“We're really proud and inspired when our community’s youth take on that compassion and that empathy at such a young age. It’s great to see this next generation having that instilled in them at such an early age and going for it and taking it on themselves to get involved,” Nolan says.

She notes that young volunteers are always welcomed to apply to help out around the food bank for sorting, packaging and other tasks.

“Anyone 12 years of age and over is welcome to apply to be a volunteer at the food bank and we definitely see an increase of youth in the summertime as well,” Nolan says. “As soon as schools out, we see an increase.”

If you want to donate or get involved with volunteering, click here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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