Letter: Donations make a difference in peoples’ lives
To the editor:
The letter is to thank the community for their continued support for our Live, Love, Laugh campaign for the Kelowna Women’s Shelter. One of the women who received one of our gift bags wrote this letter to me to thank the companies, stores and dentists that contributed to our gift bags:
About five years ago, I found myself with two young children living in a women’s shelter/transition home after my 18-year volatile marriage ended.
In the last five years, I have put myself through nursing school, became a Licensed Practical Nurse, established a relationship with myself and my children and remarried to a wonderful man.
During my stay in the shelter, I was a recipient of a purple tote bag containing personal toiletry items such as shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, shaving cream etc. I had very little at the time so this act of generosity and kindness from a lady named Anne touched my soul and still brings tears of gratitude to me today.
I wish to thank Anne and the companies for your generous contributions to her bags. You help Anne facilitate her cause and it resonates with the recipients far more than you can imagine. So thank you and bless you.
I want to send out a huge thank you to all the companies, stores and dentists that have made our Live, Love, Laugh campaign for the Kelowna Women’s Shelter such a success, with each year being more successful than the previous. Along with my husband Lorne Brooks and my nurses (due to Lou Gehrig’s disease I need 24-hour nursing care), 2013 marked the seventh year that we have collected toiletries to fill bags for women and children at the shelter.
The items we collect for the women’s bags include things like shampoo, brushes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soaps and lotions. At retail price, the 22 items in each woman’s bag would cost over $65 (plus tax), but with items donated from companies, stores and dentists, plus price discounts, we are able to bring the price down to $10 per bag.
We ask family and friends to sponsor the gift bags and we have had people contribute from all over the world (New York, Australia and Qatar). We outdid ourselves in 2013 and were able to fill 160 women’s bags, 100 children’s parcels and several boxes filled with supplies for the shelter.
The companies that have supported our project, donating hundreds of their products since 2009, are Beiersdorf Canada (Nivea), Energizer (Schick, Skinitmate, Wet Ones and Playtex), plus Sunstar Americas (GUM).
In the past we have also received products from the Dove Self-esteem Fund and Newell Rubbermaid Canada (Goody hair products). At first we had five local stores donate products or gift cards to our project, but in 2013 this number grew to 21 stores, allowing us to fill more gift bags for the shelter. These generous local stores are Save-on-Foods, Walmart, Safeway, Pharmasave, Rexall, Dyck’s Pharmacy, London Drugs, Real Canadian Superstore, Costco, Target, Lakeside Medicine Centre, Cooper’s Foods and the Hudson’s Bay.
As well, in 2012 we received donations from Sears and Serendipity Clothing Store.
The number of contributing dentists has doubled and we thank Dr. Leitch, Dr. Eagleton, Sunnyside Dental (Dr. Koning and Dr. Schader), Dr. Gagner, Dr. Grover and Dr. Ashley, plus now retired both Dr. Pendletons.
Last but not least, I want to give a big shout out to the staff of Capri Insurance (via Jody Hayes) that donated their Dress Down Fund to our project and the staff at the Okanagan College Finance Department (through Susan Moran) for sponsoring numerous bags rather than having a gift exchange at their office.
We deliver the bags throughout the year whenever the shelter needs them. The Kelowna Women’s Shelter said: “Our clients love these bags! It is a great moment to offer these quality products to our clients and see how excited they are…in a time of transition and uncertainty, these bags are a practical expression of support from their community.”
To learn more about the Kelowna Women’s Shelter and how you can support them, check out their Facebook page or go to their website http://kelownawomensshelter.com/.
I just want to say thank you again to all of the generous companies, stores, dentists, plus the individual sponsors that help make the Live, Love, Laugh campaign possible.