Giving Tuesday proclaimed in Kelowna

Giving Tuesday is a call to give back tot he community in some way after the consumer excess of Black Friday.

Richelle Leckey of the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club speaks at the Giving Tuesday event at Kelowna City Hall Tuesday as Mayor Colin Basran looks on.

First we had Black Friday and then we had Cyber Monday both days aimed at consumer consumption. But on Tuesday, the message changed. It was about giving, not getting.

For the second year in Kelowna, Mayor Colin Basran declared yesterday Giving Tuesday in the city, a day when the public is encouraged to give in a variety of ways to help others in the community.

“Coming off Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we want to turn that on its ear and show all we can do that doesn’t cost money,” said Basran before reading the proclamation designating Nov. 29, 2016 as Giving Tuesday in Kelowna.

He read the proclamation at lunch time Tuesday, on the steps of city hall in an event organized by the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club and the United Way.

Richelle Leckey of the boys and girls club who brought the idea of Giving Tuesday to the city in 2015, said the idea is to show that in order for a community to be successful, everyone needs to give back in some way.

She said that could be as simple as helping your neighbour rake leaves or even smiling at people as you walk down the street.

“It doesn’t always just have to be about giving money,” she said.

As a result of last year’s inaugural proclamation and Giving Tuesday event, Leckey said her organization noticed an increase in people coming forward to volunteer their time and effort.

“This is more than a community effort,” she said of Giving Tuesday. “It’s a global movement.”

The event started in the U.S. and was intentionally scheduled for right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have grown in popularity as prime shopping days of the year on both sides of the border.

Volunteerism is strong in the Okanagan, noted Leckey, with the United Way estimating there are thousands of hours of time donated each year by members of the public to help a myriad of local groups.

The local chapter of the United Way holds a Day of Caring each year, where teams of volunteers go into the community for the day and help non-profit groups with chores that they need doing. Each year, that day has seen increases in the number of individual and volunteer teams that participate.

Following his reading of the proclamation, Basran echoed what he had said earlier in the day in a statement issued to the media about council’s decison Monday to expand the city’s ban on sitting and sleeping on the sidewalks of Kelowna.

He said, despite the way it was portrayed by some, the move is not an attack on the homeless. He vowed city byaw officers would not be out “24/7 looking for people to ticket.”

Basran said the move was simply a response to a growing number of complaints from individuals and businesses in Kelowna’s downtown who say sidewalks and access to businesses are being blocked by people sleeping.