The annual 10,000 Tonight food drive and Toys for Tots and Teens events had to be cancelled under the new COVID-19 restrictions prohibiting events.
But organizers have come up with a new campaign of caring that is called ‘Penticton Provides.’
Last year, the 10,000 Tonight food drive doubled its goal and brought 20,110 non-perishable food items to the local food bank. At the time, Miriam Leslie with the food bank said the donation weighed 18,000 lbs and would last until spring 2019.
The goal this year will be to collect 1,000 gifts and 10,000 food items while also collecting $20,000 which will be spent within this community.
Last Thursday’s new restrictions announcement by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has resulted in Pen High and Maggie Secondary being unable to run the 10,000 Tonight event Thursday, Nov. 27, and the Toys for Tots to Teens in the drive-thru format that was going to take place this year.
At this time, all events have been suspended, but instead the organizers have come together to combine the two fundraising events to make an even bigger community fundraiser that will stretch over two weeks.
“After connecting with Interior Health and identifying possible solutions to ensure we are still able to support our community, we have rebranded to form a new campaign called Penticton Provides. This campaign will run for two weeks from Nov. 26 until Dec. 10,” said Pen High vice-principal Bo Boxwell.
“Everything that is donated by our community will stay within our community to support those that are in need. We will still be doing a campaign and we want to keep people connected and involved. In fact, we’d like to have the campaign be bigger than the events.”
“These plans are still in their infancy and everyone recognizes the tremendous amount of time and energy our student leaders at Penticton Secondary and Princess Margaret Secondary have put into supporting our community,” he added.
The hard work of high school students to sustain the needs of the Penticton food bank and with toys and gifts for our most vulnerable during the Christmas season is so appreciated, he said.
“This year the need is even more dramatic with COVID impacting many of our most vulnerable.”
Penticton Salvation Army is grateful for the high schools’ work and contribution.
“The need is greater than ever, and we are seeing new people on a daily basis,” said Salvation Army’s John Rankin on the needs this year.
“10,000 Tonight is an amazing food drive led by students who coordinate advertising, drop-offs, counting and sorting, and delivery to the food bank (in years past).
“Their efforts are so much appreciated every year and we are hoping the supplies last into spring.”
The community will have multiple locations where they can drop off food and toys including in front of Penticton Secondary and Princess Margaret Secondary as well as the elementary and middle school locations in our city.
Also accepting donations are Save-On-Foods, Safeway, Walmart, Superstore and IGA. An option to donate online is being created.