The entire staff at Walmart Penticton has stepped forward with a generous donation to Penticton Regional Hospital.
The 300 store “associates” are directing $30,000 over four years to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation campaign to provide the medical equipment for the new patient care tower at PRH.
Store manager Rory Williams said Walmart is donating $18,000 now, with a further $12,000 over the next three years. “We talked to the associates and the management team to discuss some of the local charities that were near and dear to them,” he said.
One of the top causes mentioned was the upcoming PRH expansion.
“At one time or another just about all of us have either had to go to the hospital or had a loved one there,” he said. “We take for granted that we live in a community that has a hospital.”
The Walmart employees actually raised a total of $34,000 through various fundraisers like staff barbecues and other events. Other charities will also receive funding and part of the donation was matched by Walmart Canada’s head office.
Williams emphasized that the credit for the donation should go to the entire Walmart staff.
“The associates raised that money and it was important to them that it stays in their community and we’ve made sure that happens,” he said.
Williams moved to Penticton in 2013 from Trail, and previously served with the management team at the Walmart in West Kelowna.
Co-manager Cathie Peeren, who graduated from Penticton Secondary School, has worked with Walmart for 17 years. She thinks the donation to PRH is a terrific idea.
“The hospital provides such a big need for my family and the community. All my kids were born there,” she said. “To be able to give back to that is something I’m really proud of, especially for our store.”
Peeren noted at a large store like Penticton, the staff have a wide range of interests which need support. Although it wasn’t a tough staff decision to give to the hospital, while still being able to help out other local charities as well. These organizations include the Salvation Army, SPCA, OSNS Child Development Centre, Penticton Soupateria, Dragonfly Pond Family Society, autism support, Dry Grad and others.
“In some way or another, each of those charities has touched or helped somebody in our building,” Williams said.
Construction of the hospital expansion will start this spring, with the new tower to be completed by late 2019.