It’s the community’s time to help Shed the Light on Addiction and support Penticton’s Discovery House.
The annual fundraising campaign not only raises funds for the addiction recovery program but also works towards breaking the stigma around addiction and treatment.
People can buy lights that are displayed on the Discovery Houses in Penticton, and then on Dec. 17, they can visit the Winnipeg Street location to hear the stories of those who went through the program or who are getting help with their addictions.
From 4 to 6 p.m., people can come down and pick up some hot chocolate, try some baking, get a tour of the Discovery House and then at 5 p.m., see the house light up.
This year, there will also be an entry into the Christmas Light Up Parade in Penticton, with a vehicle decorated in lights by the current members of Discovery House.
Fundraising, through campaigns including Shed the Light on Addiction and Soup is Good Food, is still key to keeping the services at Discovery House going. Although things have changed since Discovery House first opened and there is now interest and support from the provincial government for addiction treatment, a third of the program’s beds are supported by the community.
“Fundraising and reaching out to the community has been our main source of funding for the past 15 years. We used to be 100 per cent funded by the community, and still makes I would say 45 to 50 per cent of our budget,” said executive director Jerome Abraham. “We’re just trying to get the funding for the four beds that aren’t funded.”
Just like in 2022, as Penticton heads into December, the need for help for those with addictions is still growing. The 90-day program is seeing about 40 to 60 men go through it in a year, with a wait list that can be up to around 60 people long at times.
Another sign of how difficult the year has been is that as of September, 24 people in Penticton have lost their life to a fatal overdose, putting the city on track to have its worst year once again.
“It’s been a really tragic year, not just for overdoses, but suicides and just, we have a real underfunded and lack of support for people that want to transition out of substances,” said Abraham. “A lot of services are tied to people using substances and helping them stop, but I think that it’s not a good stopping point.”
While Discovery House’s main 13 beds focus on the initial 90-days, when those undergoing treatments need the most assistance, the need doesn’t end once someone finishes the initial program.
In 2021 the house opened Parks Place, which provides semi-independent living to help transition those who have completed their initial 90-day program but aren’t quite ready to move back out onto their own.
An additional carriage house with another three spaces is currently under construction on the property, with the goal of being open in 2023. Once that is finished, the program will have a total of 25 spaces over multiple stages for their residential, abstinence-based program.
“It feels like we’re moving towards something different, and that’s our hope; where there’s equitable funding across the board for people that are in the early part of the harm reduction continuum, but also funding for people that want to live a life free of substances,” said Abraham.
The Parker Place building is just one aspect of the society’s strategy for providing continuing care, with weekly meetings for alumni and residents at Parker Place, monthly alumni meetings and dinners and weekly availability for the program’s counsellor.
The easiest way for people to donate is through the Canadahelps page, but Discovery House will also accept E-Transfers to: email@example.com or cheques mailed to Discovery House, 633 Winnipeg St., Penticton, B.C. V2A 5N1 You can also contact Jerome Abraham at 250-462-1388 for more information.
To report a typo, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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