Fulfilling dreams and saving lives.
Those were just two of the many benefits credited to the thousands of dollars in charitable funding given out each year by the Okanagan Fest of Ale Society.
Last week, at the Penticton Seniors Centre, the society distributed $60,000 to 20 not-for-profit organizations as well as honouring the volunteers who make the event possible.
Among the recipients receiving money was Discovery House operated by the Penticton Resource Recovery Society which helps men with alcohol and drug addiction.
“It’s no stretch to say with the opioid crisis and the desperate shape a lot of these people with substance use challenges are facing today, these funds will not only change somebody’s life but save somebody’s life,” said executive director Jerome Abraham. “As a former client of Discovery House I really thank the Fest of Ale for doing that for me.”
The money Discovery receives goes to pay for a bed for three months for someone who needs the services but can not otherwise afford it.
“With this money they will get their foundation three months in recovery and then life skills training, everything from learning to cook food to manage money, to address substance use, to the mental health support that they need,” said Abraham. “It’s a huge thing for an individual who couldn’t otherwise afford long term treatment or recovery and it’s all because of Fest of Ale.”
Representing School District 67, Superintendent of Schools Wendy Hyer was another very grateful recipient.
“They (Fest of Ale) provide every year funds to support a student from each of the Penticton high schools to continue on with post-secondary education,” said Hyer. “I receive thank you letters from students for district scholarships to support them with their dreams.”
In accepting the scholarship grant she also touched on the importance of other local organizations, many who were also at the event with her, who do work to help others.
“OSNS (Child and Youth Development Centre), the Boys and Girls Club, OneSky (Community Resources) you contribute to students and families,” said Hyer, her voice breaking. “It’s an honour to work with these community groups. We change the lives of kids everyday as a community.”
Representing OSNS, Cathy Brett told of the importance of the Fest of Ale funding to the work her organization does in the Okanagan-Similkameen.
In particular, the benefit for families with small children who are on a waiting list to receive help that are sometimes frustrated, anxious or angry with the delay.
“We tell you there are toys you can buy to start working with your child, we show you how to use them but you can’t afford them, that’s where the funding from the Fest of Ale comes in,” said Brett. “ Through your (Fest of Ale) generous support we are able to offer these families individualized kits so they can start working with their child at home until we are able to see them.”
Since the Fest of Ale events began in 1996 the society has donated over $600,000 to not-for-profit groups.
“We’re looking for impact on the community,” said Cruickshank about the selection process. “Each year the board of directors has a consensus of what’s important for our community, for our region, and we try to choose those charities that best support those directives.”
Send Mark Brett an email.
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