Penticton groups warming hearts and bodies of those in need

Nobody likes cold feet, especially not Mike Forster.

Kim Ehlers looks over the huge pile of warm items building up at Litwin Notary for their annual Cover with Kindness campaign to collect warm blankets and clothes to redistribute to those in need.

Kim Ehlers looks over the huge pile of warm items building up at Litwin Notary for their annual Cover with Kindness campaign to collect warm blankets and clothes to redistribute to those in need.

Nobody likes cold feet, especially not Mike Forster.

That’s why he has dedicated the little free time he has to keep the cold off the homeless population in Penticton.

“I’m a diabetic so my feet are always cold. I can just imagine how these people feel,” said Forster, a nursing student at Sprott Shaw College. While working through the mental health unit of the nursing course, the cold feet connection sparked an idea for Forster. In three days his online fundraiser (gofundme.com/keeppenwarm) has raised $596 of its $1,000 goal through 10 donors

“It comes to simple things. I heard somebody say (homeless people) struggle with the small things. The hats, the gloves even socks, warm dry socks,” Forster said. “That really stuck in my head.”

The former businessman who decided he was going to leave his old career behind in the hopes of helping others said he hadn’t thought of himself as mental health advocate before taking the nursing course.

“It introduced me to the homeless population, addiction and things like that. The struggles that these people go through,” Forster said. “It kept echoing in my brain that I need to do something.”

Things started off slowly for the online fundraiser, but to Forster’s surprise they picked up quickly in just a matter of days.

“It’s kind of snowballed. I didn’t really expect it to get so much awareness and it’s great,” Forster said.

The money raised goes towards care packages with two pairs of socks, a toque and some gloves among some hygiene products. He said the operation can continue to expand as long as the donations continue to come.

“If it possibly gets bigger I could bulk buy hoodies for five, six bucks. Good, thick hoodies. So it’s just a matter of raising the funds to grab the stuff,” Forster said.

Once the packages are put together with the help of some of his friends and fellow nursing students, Forster will be visiting soup kitchens and areas like downtown Penticton to get the items where they are needed. He is also accepting donations of useful products alongside financial donations.

He’s hoping to fill the gaps with smaller items that aren’t generally thought of when donating to the homeless like notepads and pens.

“It’s something that they use a lot, that they go through. You might not think it, but that was another thing somebody had said they seem to need,” Forster.

Forster has been in touch with other likeminded efforts in Penticton, including God’s Kitchen, who among other acts of kindness put on a breakfast gathering at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian church on Tuesday’s from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Since he has started the project, he’s found out about more supports in the city.

“As I did this I started getting all these messages from different people who are doing it, like God’s kitchen, I didn’t know that was out there,” Forster said. “They have been wanted to combine efforts and try to work together which is great.”

Forster added that he is more than willing to collaborate with any and every organization interested.

While Forster’s project is new, there can never be too much charity. The Cover With Kindness blanket drive is returning for its sixth year in a row, and is looking for blankets, sleeping bags, toques, scarves, gloves/mittens and winter coats. The items can be new or gently used and will go towards those in need.

The items will be handed out to clientele at the Soupateria and those in need at the Parish Hall in St. Saviour’s Church next to the soup kitchen. The items will be handed out from Dec. 15-17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Donations can be dropped off at 699 Main St. or can be picked up from a home or office. The Kitchen Soupateria Society will arrange to the have the items cleaned if need be and delivered to the Parish hall. Call 250-770-8888 for more info.

 

Just Posted

(Facebook)
New trial date set in Penticton for Thomas Kruger-Allen’s triple assault charges

May trial was delayed after Crown witnesses failed to show up

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

Scales of Justice
Acquittal in Okanagan crash that killed vacationing dentist

Daerio Romeo, 29, was charged with dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm

Renderings of what the skating rink could look like beside City Hall between Martin and Main in downtown Penticton. (Activate Penticton image)
Penticton to get outdoor ice rink this winter

It’s hoped the rink will be ready to host 2022 BCHL’s 60th year celebration

The fate of Skaha Marina and its operations will be decided Saturday, June 19 on general election day. (File photo)
Penticton city hosted last forum before voters decide on fate of Skaha Marina

Residents share concerns about length of operations agreement, parking and control of park

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Vernon-Monashee NDP MLA Harwinder Sandhu supported a motion in the B.C. legislature for Canada to create a national Indigenous History month Monday, June 13, 2021. (Contributed)
Canada needs a national Indigenous History Month, Vernon MLA agrees

Harwinder Sandhu supports motion to recognize June as month to advance reconciliation efforts with First Nations

Orange ribbons are tied to the fence outside Vernon’s Gateway Homeless Shelter on 33rd Street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
POLL: Low-key Canada Day in the works for Vernon

Councillor calling for Indigenous recognition for 2022

A conceptual design of Vernon’s new Active Living Centre, which will go to referendum Oct. 15, 2022. (Rendering)
Active living centre 2022 referendum planned in Vernon

City hoping to get Coldstream and Areas B and C back on board

Closure of the 2900 block of 30th Avenue will allow restaurants and other businesses to extend their patios onto the street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Green light given to downtown Vernon road closure

Single block of 30th Avenue to close over summer months to boost business

Graduating Grade 12 student Savannah Lamb has been awarded an approximate $40,000 scholarship from the Beedie Luminaries foundation. (Contributed)
Dedicated Salmon Arm student earns scholarship to pursue post-secondary education

Savannah Lamb is graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary with a $40,000 scholarship

A provided photo of the suspect. (Kelowna RCMP/Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP investigating after business robbed

An undisclosed amount of money and merchandise were taken from the business

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

Most Read