There will be a lot fewer cold hands during winter months thanks to some warm hearts who pitched in to help those in need this week.
For three days, hundreds of people arrived on the doorstep of St. Saviour’s Parish Hall where they were welcomed inside to find some winter wear and good cheer, at no cost.
For the fifth year in a row, Penticton notary Greg Litwin stood outside with Christmas bells and a big smile to encourage those in need to find things to make this winter a little less harsh.
Everything from free blankets, jackets and sleeping bags were piled high on tables as the many volunteers helped the smiling shoppers find what they needed.
“This is great and it really helps a lot of people who need it, especially at this time of year,” said Peter Docherty as he sorted the donated new and gently used items. “With the economy and everything else it’s not going to get any better. It’s the time for people to reach out and help each other and that’s what’s happening here.”
The hall is located between the church property and the attached Soupateria and many simply went from one to the other to share the incredible generosity of the community.
“It’s heart warming to see how much people get out of the gifts others have donated and I think if people knew how much their donations mean, even more people would be doing it,” said Lisa Grey-Dreaper, who has volunteered with the program for the past three years. “As you can see the room is full and there is still more. This community, as soon as you reach out to them, are incredible.
“When they come out of here, the people are thrilled, for some of them it’s Christmas shopping.”
The volunteer said the answer is easy as to why she spares her time to help.
“Just knowing that they’re warm,” she said, adding. “We’re not on the street. We can go sit in our cars or homes, these people can’t.”
She described Litwin as a “selfless” individual who refuses to take any of the credit for the program that means so much to so many.
For Litwin, this labour of love for which so many people have jumped on board, is the true spirit of the season.
“Why we’re doing this is to hopefully improve the lives of the less fortunate,” he said as he watched people leaving with plastic bags filled with warmth. “The citizens of Penticton have certainly made the Christmases of these people a lot more bright.”
The final opportunity for people to get items at the hall is Dec. 17 from 10 am. to 2 p.m.