There’s no question where Pat Wand will be every Saturday morning – unless it falls on Christmas or New Year’s.
It could be raining, or even -20 C and snowing, but it won’t stop the local woman from collecting bottles in Penticton’s IGA parking lot every week.
Wand started the bottle campaign more than 10 years ago and has since raised close to $400,000 in support of charities across the city.
She, along with her team of five, can be seen sorting through recyclables for several hours every Saturday – and they don’t plan on stopping any time soon.
“It’s all about the volunteers and the people,” Wand said. “None of it is about me…the bottle drive wouldn’t be any good without the fabulous people that come here every week.”
Penticton and Summerland’s IGA locations have hosted the bottle drive for more than a decade.
And for Colin Powell, Saturday mornings at IGA just wouldn’t be the same without it.
“Pat has the platform to facilitate her bottle drive every Saturday, but also goes hand in hand with our philosophies at IGA as well,” said Powell, the owner and operator of both stores. “It’s all about serving and bettering our communities.”
The volunteers who join Wand are just as committed to giving back to the community as she is, with an average of $450 raised for local charities every weekend. “They just have such passion,” Powell said. “The efforts have been there every weekend, whether it’s the middle of summer when it’s 40 C or the middle of winter when it’s -10 C…they’re still out there trying to provide a service to our community.”
The team sorts through bags of recyclables from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Wand, though, still finds the time to drop everything off at a local bottle depot, where she ensures funds are collected for local charities.
The group of volunteers, both in Penticton and Summerland, has never been marked as absent. That day will finally come, however, next month.
“This year, we’re going to be closed Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve,” Wand said. “They fall on Saturdays. Seven years ago, I showed up for the bottle drive on Christmas Eve and just one person showed up. Not this year.”
Wand’s commitment to the bottle drive doesn’t go unnoticed. The hundreds of people who stop by to drop off their bottles look just as happy to see her, as she is to see them.
Her quick-witted sense of humour and team-minded effort only add to the community atmosphere that could be felt every weekend outside IGA.
“As a rule, the team can’t talk to each other because we’re counting the bottles,” Wand said with a laugh.
“But it’s very social, too. We have lots of regulars who come by every week to drop stuff off, I just love it.”