Crystal Baker (centre

Sharing the spirit with SOWINS

Penticton business shows community support with SOWINS donation.

As volunteers handed out hampers that included groceries, gifts and things that many take for granted, Crystal Baker realized she came full circle.

She had seen her own mother use the services the South Okanagan Women In Need Society offer, but never truly understood the impact until that moment standing among the volunteers giving women and children a bit of Christmas spirit.

“After leaving a marriage of 30-35 years my mom was living on her own, battling different addictions and problems,” said Baker.

Attempts by Baker to help weren’t working. It was at that point SOWINS was introduced to her mom.

“She would have died. It made the difference,” said Baker. “SOWINS was there when she needed a person to turn to for help.”

Baker, a retail operations manager at Home Hardware, along with her co-workers, handed over a cheque for $3,700 to SOWINS on Wednesday making the day even more emotional for her.

“I couldn’t help my mom back then, but I can give my time back now to hopefully help others,” said Baker. “As I was watching women come in for the hampers and toys it was the full circle seeing the people on the other end helping out. We gave a cheque today, but we can also help out more as a community.”

Read more: SOWINS sharing the spirit of the holidays

Home Hardware general manager Joe Chwachka came up with the idea to take the gifts they hand out at their work Christmas party and turn it into a silent auction for the staff with all the money going to SOWINS.

“He thought it would be a great way to pay it forward to the community. It has been a great year at the store and we are all so lucky to be in the positions we are at work, home,” said Baker.

Debbie Scarborough, SOWINS executive director, thanked  Home Hardware and others in the community who donate time and money on behalf of the over 2,000 women and children they serve each year.

“People forget that everyone is someone’s mom, someone’s daughter, someone’s sister. They are women that need a hand up at the time and it could be anyone of us. We have to remember that,” said Scarborough. “You may think you don’t know anyone that needs help but actually you pass them all the time when you consider it is one out of six women that need assistance.”