Volunteers helping at last year’s Salvation Army annual Christmas hamper pick up. This year the location of the pick up has changed and it will span over a couple of days.                                Western News file photo

Volunteers helping at last year’s Salvation Army annual Christmas hamper pick up. This year the location of the pick up has changed and it will span over a couple of days. Western News file photo

Christmas Hamper distribution changes location

Cost of renting Penticton Trade and Convention Centre not the reason for moving, says mayor

Rumours that high rental rates drove the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Hamper distribution from the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre aren’t true, according to both the church and the city.

Related: Video: Christmas comes early for those who need it most

Traditionally, the distribution takes place from the large venue of the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. But Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said the cost of renting the centre wasn’t the reason for the move to the Salvation Army Church on South Main Street from Dec. 18-20.

“In the past, we’ve always given them a grant for that. It is not a money issue because they have never had to pay for it,” said Jakubeit. “I am pretty confident council would have supported that this year.”

Major Tim Leslie added: “They (city) did call three weeks ago and said we’ll give you the convention centre if you need it, they were wanting to give it to me. All these rumours have been floating around that there’s bad blood between us and the city and council but nothing could be further from the truth, they’ve been wonderful with us.”

Jim Bauer, Penticton’s chief financial officer, confirmed the city has given the Salvation Army a grant to use the convention centre in the past.

“They have received a grant for the last three years from the city,” said Bauer, noting that amounted to $6,000 in 2015, $6,525 in 2016, and $6,851 was budgeted in the 2017 financial plan.

During this year’s budget discussions, Bauer noted the Salvation Army had not applied for their usual facilities grant.

“The Salvation Army did not put forward a request for funding for facility use for Christmas hampers, in lieu of that request, they put forward this one,” said Bauer during the Nov. 30 budget meeting, referring to a $25,000 funding request for a volunteer co-ordinator.

Responding to questions from council, revenue supervisor Amber Coates said the Salvation Army told her the hamper program was ongoing, but they had found an alternate facility.

Jakubeit said Rene van der Meijden, the church’s Community Ministries director, told him they were looking forward to the change as a chance to connect more intimately with the people they were serving.

Related: Penticton students prepare for this year’s 10,000 Tonight

“They can actually spend 10 minutes with each family and greet them, put a face to the name and actually wish them a Merry Christmas, see who they are helping versus this big assembly line and in and out,” said Jakubeit.

Leslie noted the decision to use the Salvation Army Church was made six to eight months earlier and described the move as a “win-win” situation.

“I think using our church will work and I think it might actually be a little better for our clients because they won’t be standing outside for half a day waiting to get their hampers because we’ll be dividing it up in three days,” he said. “It will also be more intimate. We can maybe chat with people if they want and there’s not so much of a lineup and we’ll put out some hot chocolate and goodies.”

Leslie added that as in the past there will be volunteers available to give hamper recipients a ride home if needed. As well, again this year gift certificates rather than frozen items and perishable will be given out.

“It gives them (clients) more choices, you hand some people eggs and turkeys and things and they’re living in a motel room and they really can’t deal with it anyway,” he said. “There are lots of things you can buy so they can get themselves something more suitable.”

It’s estimated that as many as 800 hampers will be given out.

Hampers for the first day’s distribution (Dec. 18) will be packed Dec. 15 at the church by staff and volunteers.

Those hampers (about 300) will then be delivered by special needs organizations like the brain injury society to their clients.

Singles will pick up their hampers that afternoon and the following two days families will receive theirs.

Related: 95 years of Sally Ann in Penticton

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Penticton Regional Airport saw just under 34,000 total flight movements in 2020. (Black Press file)
Penticton Airport sees 75 per cent drop in use in 2020

The airport saw under 34,000 total aircraft movements

Interior Health declared the COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place long term care home over Monday, Jan. 18, 2020. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place care home declared over

‘This has been one of our most challenging outbreaks so far,’ says chief medical health officer

This is the location, 3240 Skaha Lake Road, of where BC Housing plans to build a four storey supportive housing project for the homeless and at risk of being homeless. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton mayor and MLA concerned about new homeless housing

BC Housing is holding a virtual info meeting Tuesday evening, Jan. 19

Sunnybank
COVID-19 related deaths at Oliver, West Kelowna and Vernon senior care homes

Sunnybank, Heritage Retirement Residence and Noric House recorded deaths over the weekend

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun in Salmon Arm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccinations underway in Salmon Arm

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun

Hillview Elementary students Emma Li and Mina Nadeau were awarded by the Premier’s office for winning the annual holiday card contest. (Karen Rogers photo)
North Okanagan students’ art featured on Premier’s cards

Hillview youth chosen for annual holiday card contest

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

An Abbotsford man was killed in a motor vehicle accident on Highway 3 on Monday, Jan. 18. (Black Press file photo)
Abbotsford man killed in Highway 3 crash near Hedley

Fatality was discovered by passing tow truck driver

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

This dog is going to the SPCA if its owner isn't found. (RDNO Dog Control photo)
Owners sought after dog ‘dumped’ near North Okanagan school

Pup is now either getting adopted or going to the SPCA

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Most Read