Tree makes South Okanagan wishes come true

Making a wish upon a star does work especially if it winds up among the branches of the Christmas wish tree in Penticton.

Carrie Reiter (left) and Allie Paproski look over the remaining stars on the Christmas wish tree at the Penticton and District Community Resources office.

Making a wish upon a star does work especially if it winds up among the branches of the Christmas wish tree.

Although the Big Christmas Give is not an official Penticton and District Community Resources Society (PDCRS) program, staff there have been operating it for the past 10 years, helping thousands of the less fortunate in the process.

It is through the generosity of local individuals, organizations and businesses these people will have a brighter holiday season.

“It is actually very humbling when I see someone asking for cleaning supplies or dads asking for work boots or work socks,” said society counsellor Allie Paproski who works closely with PDCRS consultant Carrie Reiter and other staff on the project.

“I had a very privileged upbringing and we had so much at Christmas so when people wish for Tim Horton’s (gift) cards or a movie pass.

“This is a splurge item for them.

“So it just means so much to be able to help.”

The way the program works is people wanting assistance register in October. Those specific wishes are then transferred to a star which is placed on trees at locations throughout town, including the society office at 330 Ellis St.

“Helping someone this Christmas is as easy as going to one of several locations and plucking one of the stars from the Christmas trees,” said Paproski. “This is about assisting people from babies in tummies to people who are 92.”

Trees are also located at this year’s three major sponsors, Penticton Toyota, Rona or Murray’s Pizza.

Through its various programs the PDCRS aids about 600 families daily and last year filled about 1,600 wishes.

“The stars are madly coming off the trees over the last couple of days, especially because it’s that time of year,” said Paproski.

“But there is still time for people to sponsor an entire family or teenagers.

“We do have some young families as well single moms and single dads with wee ones.”

One wish she hopes to see come true involves a young woman living on her own who desperately needs a bed, bedding, a house coat, slippers and food cards.

“She’s a girl who has had a tough time and is just trying to make it,” said Paproski.

Cash and donations of food cards are the things most needed right now, as well as specific items for teens whose stars are often the last ones chosen.

Any help people can provide will be accepted for this year until Dec. 19.

Items received afterwards or not distributed will go into the PDCRS unofficial storage room for 2014.

If someone would like to pick a star the instructions about returning the merchandise is contained on the back.

Donations can be made in person at the Ellis Street office or online at www.pdcrs.com.

For more information Paproski can be reached at apaproski@pdcrs.com or 250-486-5814.

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