Be it time, items or good ol' cash, the holidays are a time of giving in Kamloops.
In that light, we've compiled a list of ways you can help out. If you've got a lot of stuff, there are places looking for used winter gear, food or other items. If you've got a lot of money (lucky you), there are plenty of groups that could use it to help provide those less fortunate with warm food or shelter during the winter.
And if you have neither, your time is still a valuable thing to give, and sometimes helps when money or material goods can't.
We know this isn't a complete list, so if you know of something we've missed, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add it in.
Items or money
Christmas in the Bag
KamloopsMatters is participating in this one, along with The Mustard Seed Kamloops and HUB International. The idea is to stuff 300 large nylon bags full of essentials, to be handed out at the Mustard Seed's Christmas dinner.
We'll be releasing more information next week, but for now, what you need to know is we'll be collecting items like socks, disposable razors, tampons and toques. Items can be dropped off at The Mustard Seed Kamloops, the KamloopsMatters office or any of the HUB International offices.
As it gets cold out, the Mustard Seed is looking to keep its clients warm. With their winter shelter opening on Nov. 27, they're currently holding a blanket drive to make sure they have enough this year. You can drop them off at the Outreach Centre at 181 Victoria St. W.
This is the Salvation Army's annual campaign for individual families to receive direct assistance from an individual, group or company. They're still looking for donors; at last count, they needed 30 more sponsors. For more information, contact Renee at 250-554-1611 ext. 206.
Abbott Wealth Management is quarterbacking this campaign to collect 400 shoeboxes to give to women living in shelters, filled with Christmas gifts and useful items. Individuals or groups fill a shoebox and drop it off at Abbott Wealth Management. They'll then take it to a place like the Emerald Hostel or Elizabeth Fry Society, where it'll be given to a woman. Items inside the box can include warm winter accessories like gloves or scarves, sweet treats like chocolates or candy and things like nail polish or brushes. They request no used items, anything with alcohol, hotel samples or perfume. For more information, click HERE.
The City of Kamloops and BC Transit are teaming up to try and fill a city bus with money and (non-perishable) food. Items they're looking for include tomato sauce, tuna, beans and peanut butter. This year's annual event will take place Dec. 7 and 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Save-On-Foods in Columbia Square. Monetary donations up to $1,500 will be matched by BC Turkey Farmers to buy Christmas turkeys. All donations will go to the Kamloops Food Bank.
OK, so this is time and money. Brennan's Ugly Sweater Run commemorates Brennan Comazzetto. His sister, Payton, is behind this fun run, which brings out the best in people and the worst in fashion. You can sign up to run or walk 5 km. The event raises funds for the Kamloops Boys and Girls Club power start program, which ensures children start their school day with a nice breakfast and get to school safely. The run takes place Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. in West Highlands Park. You have to register online at least one day in advance.
The night of Dec. 13 a group of Kamloops residents will spend one chilly night together. They'll be camping out in a parking lot to replicate the conditions homeless youth might face this winter, though in this case there'll be hot meals, a warm fire, hot cocoa, entertainment, and, if they need it, access to heated indoors. The event is put on by A Way Home Kamloops as a community-building experience and fundraising event; their goal is to raise $50,000 for youth housing.
Every November this program ramps up to make sure the sidewalks and walkways are clear for Kamloopsians unable to shovel the snow themselves. Each year Snow Angels help over 100 seniors or people with mobility issues. Volunteers must be physically fit and must be able to get to their Snow Angel duties within 24 hours of a snowfall. Those wishing to participate need to fill out an information form and pass a criminal record check.
The Salvation Army's annual Christmas Kettle Campaign is officially underway. Volunteers are adorned with Santa caps and armed with bells as they stand in front of busy pedestrian areas, collecting donations. With no long-term commitment and the ability to choose your hours, this is one of the more flexible volunteer options.
It's just kicked off in Kamloops again, and they're still looking for drivers. The Tournament Capital has regularly had one of the most successful Operation Red Nose campaigns in the country as evening holiday revellers get home safe via volunteer drivers. Donations support PacificSport Interior BC. Driver teams consist of three people, so grab a couple of friends and a car, and help keep Kamloops roads safe and Kamloops athletes sporting.