Opinion

Cannan: Volunteering is good for the soul of your community

Canada has just celebrated National Volunteer Week.

According to Volunteer Canada (www.volunteer.ca), 12.5 million Canadians graciously donate their time and energy and are leading positive change in the community and around the world.

I’d like to acknowledge the work of two of the many great local organizations, which rely on volunteers to do some great work in the community.

Soles4Souls Canada sends shoes to needy people in Canada and around the world.

It was formed with the help of Kelowna’s Jim Belshaw, owner of Roy’s Shoes Boots and Repair and president of the Sunrise Rotary Club, another great local organization.

Since 2004, Soles4Souls has distributed over 17 million pairs of shoes, and has responded to more than 40 natural disasters worldwide with crisis relief aid, including Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the Japan earthquake, and the Alabama and Missouri tornadoes in 2011.

For many of us who day to day have several shoe choices available, it might seem like an unused pair of shoes belongs in the garbage where they end up in the landfill.

But for the 300 million children around the world who live a life of tragedy and disaster every day, a pair of shoes is a gift that can change their lives.

Soles4Souls asks that you clean out your closets and convince your friends, neighbours and relatives to do the same.

All footwear including sandals and boots that have no holes in the soles and are in decent shape are accepted and needed.

If you’re interested in supporting Soles4Souls’ relief efforts please go to www.soles4soulscanada.com.

During the month of April, a number of local businesses assisted this effort by acting as official drop-off locations.

You can also make monetary and shoe donations throughout the year both. It only takes a $1 donation buys one pair of new sandals.

I’d also like to say a big thanks to the dedicated professionals and volunteers in our community who work with victims of crime and their families to help them take a path towards healing.

This week is National Victims of Crime Awareness Week. It’s important to acknowledge the support and services that are provided to victims of crime in our community.

Across the country, thousands of people every year seek help from victim services offices.

Being a victim of crime can be a life-altering experience and how an individual may chose to move their life forward after being victimized will be unique to the person and the situation.

In Kelowna, services for victims of crime are available from the RCMP, and for victims of abuse, at the Elizabeth Fry Society.

If you or your family needs support, help is a phone call away.

You can call the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300 or the Elizabeth Fry Society at 250-763-4613.

More information on the Central Okanagan’s Elizabeth Fry Society can also be found at www.beyondcrisis.ca.

In addition, Kelowna and Lake Country have community policing centres located at Mission Community Policing Office, 4065 Lakeshore Dr., 250-764-5004; at the Rutland Community Policing Office, 115 McIntosh Rd., 250-765-6355; and at 3231 Berry Rd. in Lake Country, 250-766-2288.

Finally, just a reminder that we are still accepting nominations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal program.

If you know of someone who has made a significant contribution to our community or country, you can nominate them by completing a nomination gorm at my website, www.cannan.ca

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