KCR: Volunteers give to sponsor a family

These columns are contributed by the KCR Community Resources

Although it seems like the summer is still here with the great weather we have been having, the nights are getting cooler and it is starting to make plans for the Holiday Season. This week I want to share two ways that volunteers help to make the Holiday Season a little merrier for the community.

First, every year KCR and the Kelowna Capital News partner together to share the Holiday Activities Guide, full of great events and stories featuring non-profits that celebrate the season. We are currently recruiting listings and stories for the Guide, so if you work with a non-profit organization and want to share your event, contact us at communityservices@kcr.ca. Look for your copy of the Guide in the Capital News on November 17.

Secondly, the annual Sponsor a Family program is only possible because of special volunteers and philanthropists that look to share their holiday spirit by raising and donating funds to families in need. Darryl Reuter is a well-known realtor and community supporter who has volunteered his time, energy and skills to raise thousands of dollars for organizations over the years, including KCR Community Resources’ Sponsor a Family program.

“I’ve been involved since my early 20s,” says Darryl. “It all started with a friend who had been diagnosed with ALS. A few of us got together to put on a charity event to help his family retrofit their house to accommodate his needs. It was a big success and I learned that I had a skill set where I can put things together like this and so I have continued to do that.”

“It has to be something I believe in,” stresses Darryl who has initiated fundraisers for a wide array of groups and is one of the founders of the 100 Heroes who Give a Damn. “I have a knack for getting people together and I joke around a bit and like to have fun, and so I am usually game for it when someone sets me up for a funny situation.”

“Five years ago I decided to Sponsor a Family by organizing a Pub Crawl,” remembers Darryl. “In 2020 we couldn’t do the Pub Crawl and so we partnered the Train Station, their suppliers and staff with another good friend and client who donated $5,000 to cover the additional costs and over 300 traditional dinners were delivered to families just in time for Christmas dinner. Last year we made a straight donation to KCR to support the Sponsor a Family program.”

Darryl credits his grandmother with teaching him about having a community lens.

“Honestly, my grandma gave a lot and I saw the impact she had and so I think I get a bit of that from her,” says Darryl. “I admired her and wanted to do that as well. For my work I am out there all the time and so it gives me an opportunity to connect with lots of people and encourage them to make a difference too.”

“I feel like if you have the skills or time, giving back, is one of the most powerful things you can do,” says Darryl. “Too many people get focused on a single track and lose the opportunity to put a smile on someone’s face. You lose out on the connections you make. So many people I first met doing these kinds of things are now my best friends.

“At the same time though, I know the world takes all kinds of people to make the world spin around, so the ones that can commit their skills and their time and that enjoy doing it, should,” encourages Darryl.

To learn more about KCR’s Sponsor-a-Family program or how to host a fun fundraiser to make local impact go to https://kcr.ca/family-services/sponsor-a-family/.

Dorothee Birker is the communications and development coordinator for KCR Community Resources. If you are interested in sharing your volunteer or organizational news, please contact Dorothee at dorothee@kcr.ca.

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