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Donations needed to help Vernon kids afford Christmas gifts

Children low on cash but big on heart get to shop for loved ones

Whether it’s a candle that doesn’t suit your décor or slippers that don’t fit, the perfect regifting opportunity has arrived.

The 18th Annual Children’s Christmas Gift House takes place Saturday, Dec. 9 at the People Place, and donations are currently being accepted.

“This is such a fun event where we welcome kids who are big on heart but low on cash to come down and pick up gifts for the significant adults in their lives,” said People Place general manager Melanie O’Hara-Hutchinson.

While the children spend their loonies and toonies, adults are invited to enjoy a hot beverage and a Christmas treat. As well, a craft section will be set up for siblings who aren’t going to shop or for kids to enjoy once they have made their purchases.

Volunteers will wrap gifts, so they’re ready to go under the tree, and Christmas cards will be available for kids to write to the special adults in their lives, from parents and grandparents, to aunties, uncles and foster parents.

Thanks to generous donations from the community, there is always a huge selection of gifts for both men and women, from jewelry, lotions and handbags, to tools, slippers and toques.

“The list is endless, and we are always so touched by the beautiful gifts that are donated for this event, and to see the looks of joy on the kids’ faces as they walk out with their beautifully wrapped gifts that they have lovingly picked out.”

Secondary students from local leadership programs will be on hand as volunteer “elves” to help the kids pick out the perfect gifts for their loved ones.

“Huge thanks and appreciation to the North Okanagan Optimist Club for all of their hard work in making sure this event continues year after year, as well as the many volunteers from the Men’s Shed and throughout the community,” said O’Hara-Hutchinson.

Funds raised through this event support the People Place, which provides affordable office and program space to non-profit agencies.

Donations are needed to make this event a success, so check your cupboards, drawers and closets for new or like-new items.

Unwrapped donations can be dropped off at the People Place, 3402-27th Ave.; Vernon Curling Club, 3400-39th Ave.; The Morning Star, 4402-25th Ave.; Ladies World, 4406-27th St.; and Royal LePage-Downtown Realty, 4006-32nd St.

The children get to shop from the donations on Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 250-558-6585 or email

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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