Alistair Waters/Capital News Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran spins the “Wheel of Giving” Wednesday at an event in Stuart Park to kick of the city’s challenge to residents give a collective 150,000 hours of volunteering this year to help mark Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Mayor issues 150 volunteer challenge

Kelowna has kicked off a massive volunteer challenge to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary.

The national 150 for 150 Volunteer Challenge calls on city residents to not only meet a federal government challenge of every Canadian volunteering 150 hours this year to worthy causes but locally, have all Kelownians volunteer for a collective 150,000 hours of volunteer service in 2017.

“150,000 is a significant number,” said Mayor Colin Basran. “To volunteer 150,000 hours in a lifetime someone would be giving 6,250 days, or 17 years, or almost two decades of their life. That’s a lot for one person. But imagine a city with a population of about 128,000. What if everyone gave one to two hours of time to volunteering in one year? It’s easy to see how 150,000 hours is easily attainable.”

So he issued the challenge Wednesday morning at an event in Stuart Park downtown.

Locally, the 150 for 150 Volunteer Challenge is a partnership between the city, Kelowna Community Resources and Volinspire, a local tech company that has been chosen to be the official national platform to track the level of volunteering across the country during the year-long 150 for 150 campaign.

Volinspire’s Jeff Hoffart said residents can track their volunteer hours using the national volunteer tracking platform, powered by Volinspire. The platform also allows volunteers to search for opportunities, track hours, share volunteer stories and inspire others to give.

“We are honoured that Volinspire was chosen by Volunteer Ottawa to be the official platform for the Canada 150 for 150 Volunteer Challenge,” said Hoffart at the kick off event.

The Kelowna event took place exactly 150 days before Canada’s upcoming 150th birthday on July 1.

Stephanie Moore, project coordinator with Kelowna Community Resources said there is a myriad of ways to volunteer locally, and all help make the community a better place.

“This initiative is all about giving what you can,” she said. “With over 370 non-profit organizations in the Central Okanagan, with a variety of opportunities for any age, ability, interest or skill set , there is a myriad of ways to give and contribute to this community challenge.”

In addition to challenging city residents, Basran also challenged other Okanagan municipalities to step up and also meet the 150,000 collective volunteer hour target this year.

And he said he plans to take to social media to issue the same challenge to municipalities across the country.

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