Lying under one of Canada’s biggest Christmas trees: That’s hope

Hundreds of thousands of dollars raised with big message

  • Stober Foundation doubled their match challenge
  • Not just about writing cheques, it’s telling stories
  • Community support a big morale boost for charities

It’s called the Tree of Hope and nothing epitomizes that more than a story recounted by one of this year’s recipients of funds raised through the iconic landmark.

“I think it’s the first time it’s been done. It’s always been a dream of mine to lie underneath the tree and look up at that wonderful tree. After talking with the Stober Foundation they made it happen,” Liz Talbott, executive director of Now Canada Society, told Kelowna10.

Talbott, explained how she, members of Karis Support Society, and several women their organizations help, got to fulfill that dream on a holiday night while it was snowing.

“We had a wonderful evening at the Tree of Hope. Those ladies are the purpose of everything that happened during the six weeks of fundraising and awareness.”

It’s that sort of awareness and acknowledgement that is part of the charitable efforts spearheaded by the Stober Foundation.

This is the first time in the tree’s history two charities were named recipients.

While the funds will be a big help, the strong community response proves to be a valuable boost for morale among the charities and those they serve.

“To see the broader community all getting behind this, I was blown away. It sort of brought a tear to your eyes,” Talbott said.

“Because at the end of the day, raising awareness, raising funds, it’s for the benefit of the women that need assistance. When those ladies realize the community is behind their recovery, that is huge.”

Working closely together, Now and Karis offer emergency shelter, affordable housing, recovery programs, education, and a continuum of care for vulnerable women in our community.

The donated funds will allow the charities to finance their recovery programs and help create new ones, buy therapy, groceries, baby supplies, and free up time normally spent by staff applying for grants.

“We want to be very good stewards of this money because we know it’s from our community,” Deborah Klassen, co-executive director of Karis Support Society told Kelowna10. “We are here, and they can see what we’re doing, and we want to show them where their money is going,”

The Stober Foundation’s original goal was to raise $100,000 in community funds by offering a match of the same amount. Once the original goal was met early, they decided to double their match.

The incentive paid off with over $400,000 raised for the two charities.

“You never know how things are going to turn out … Kelowna’s a generous community and they came out, they got involved, and the campaign total was achieved,” Dallas Gray, marketing and leasing agent for Stober Group said.

“I would say this year was a tremendous success.”

Gray explained, if the foundation felt the community wasn’t going to join them in doubling the donation goal, they wouldn’t have pledged the extra funds.

“We are trying to create community engagement. Not just quietly write cheques, we want to tell the stories of the charitable work done by many great organizations.”

Published 2022-01-25 by David Hanson

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