United Ways in Vernon and Kelowna team up

United Way is taking a regional approach to helping children in poverty in the Okanagan

United Way is attacking poverty, specifically when it affects children, throughout the Okanagan.

On November 14th the Central and South Okanagan Similkameen United Way in Kelowna and North Okanagan United Way in Vernon launched the joint Give it up 4 Kids campaign.  The campaign runs until December 13th, which is also the date of the CSOS United Way’s 65th anniversary.  Give it up 4 Kids is part of United Way’s annual campaign to battle poverty, and it has a specific focus on children.  United Way is aiming to raise $65,000 between the two branches by utilizing social media.

“It’s getting people to post on their Facebook and Twitter feeds and challenge others to take up the cause,” described CSOS United Way executive director Shelley Gilmore.  “The idea is what are you going to give up in your everyday life that could make a difference for a child living in poverty? Examples would be $5 for a latte, $10 for a movie night out.  Would you give that up to make sure a kid has a meal, that they have a safe and warm place to live?”

Donations can be made by texting ‘giveitup4kids’ to 20222.  Once a donation is made, the social media aspect of the campaign kicks in.  Donors are challenged to take a self with what they gave up, then post it on social media and challenge five or more friends to do the same thing.

“We had a leftover takeaway container here in the office,” Gilmore explained.  “One worker gave up going out for lunch, so took a picture with the container to represent the lunch.  I gave up dinner out, so I used the same takeout container.  The reality probably is I’m not going to avoid going out for dinner, but I’m making a conscious effort that for $25, which is the value of going out for dinner, I’m helping a child who doesn’t have breakfast, doesn’t have snacks, may not have a place to live.”

By working together, the two Okanagan-based United Way branches are trying to show the entire Okanagan Valley and all of its residents they can and will make a difference for children living in poverty.