Residents display generosity

Community collects numerous items for Penticton Community Soupateria Society

Our heartfelt thanks to the good-hearted citizens of Penticton, who donated so very generously this year and warmed the bodies and hearts of so many in need.

Our gifts this year: 225 blankets; 45 sleeping bags; 160 scarves; 220 toques; 165 pairs of gloves/mitts; 170 ladies winter coats; 150 men’s winter coats; 10 pairs of ski pants; 15 headbands; 11 earmuffs; 20 vests; one girls snow suit; four coveralls; and two boxes of shoes

Our many thanks to: Saint Saviors Church for the use of their hall where we gave items to those in need; Bank of Nova Scotia (Warren Avenue branch) volunteers for assisting with the giveaway and cleanup after (10 employees); Junior Chamber International who assisted with deliveries of clothing/blankets at the church hall to the needy; Gayle Focken (Dominion Lending – The Mortgage Centre) for the use of her moving trailer; Steve Thompson (Royal LePage) for the use of his moving van; my staff:  Kim (and her husband, Roy), Sheri and Vicki, who dedicated many hours receiving the generous gifts from our many donors and organizing the various articles of clothing; Kim and Roy Ehlers for the many hours of moving and sorting; The Western News who conveyed “our goal” to the general public; to the many volunteers and to Lauraine Bailey – president of the Penticton Soupateria Society.

We gave away the various articles at Saint Saviors Church Hall, with many of the less fortunate expressing their gratitude and saying “You made my Christmas this year!” and the smiling faces were so heartwarming.  One elderly lady was so excited she had a comforter she was going to put on her bed — she said I haven’t had one of these for years. I replied “That will keep you nice and toasty.”

Some other heartwarming stories: a man hand knitted three garbage bags full of blankets to give to those in need – which took him the better part of a year; a 93-year-old man hand knitted 50 toques to give away; a woman, 92 years old, hand made dolls to give away to the children of those less fortunate.

This warmed the cockles of my heart and I could not help but remember a question I heard about long ago, from a girl by the name of Virginia. She wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Sun in 1897. Is there a Santa Claus? she asked. Newsman Francis Church, in part wrote this:

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.  Alas!  How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus.  It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.  There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.  We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight.  The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

What I do know is the spirit of Christmas lives in the hearts of the citizens of Penticton and again, a heart-felt thank you.

Quote: “Each of us can be a gift to the heart, friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life.” — Isadora James

Gregory J. Litwin, director

Penticton Community Soupateria Society