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Armstrong thrift shop gives big towards health and wellness

Bargain Bin volunteers present more than $150,000
Armstrong Bargain Bin volunteers donate $150,000 to various community groups focused on health and well-being. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

A mighty force in Armstrong of more than 60 volunteers, giving 20,000 hours of their time has resulted in more than $150,000 in community giving.

The Armstrong Spallumcheen Healthcare Auxiliary (ASHA) operates the Bargain Bin, a popular thrift store in town which sees the sale of its items donated to local groups aimed at improving health and wellness.

This year the blue-vested volunteers have raised $150,640, with thanks to the generous givers and shoppers.

“Armstrong and Spallumcheen residents are incredibly generous in the donations they make,” said Carolyn Farris, ASHA president.

Along with those who donate clothing, toys, games and household items they no longer need, Farris said there is a growing number of people who are accessing the thrift shop.

“We have an incredible variety of people who do thrift shipping – from people who just like to thrift shop to those who really need to. We know the need keeps growing with inflation.”

To everyone who enters the doors of the Bargain Bin, Farris says: “You are making a difference in the lives of others.”

The funds raised have been given to 16 different causes:

• Vernon Jubilee Hospital - CT Scanner project $25,000

• PV Manor - LTC site landscaping $10,000

• Pleasant Valley Health Centre - clinical exam table $17,000

• Pleasant Valley Centre Vision Clinic - patient comfort $2,100

• Pleasant Valley Centre Vision Clinic - clinical equipment $8,940

• Parkview Place - Granville Daycare - kitchen appliances $2,600

• Shuswap Lake General Hospital - pulmonary function machine $18,000

• Parkview Place - patient comfort $5,000

• Bursaries $16,000

• North Okanagan Hospice Society - patient comfort equipment $10,000

• Community Dental Access Centre Society $5,000

• Medical Equipment Loan Cupboard Society $2,000

• Armstrong/Spallumcheen Food Bank (Boys & Girls Club) $15,000

• Enderby Food Bank (FED) $10,000

• North Okanagan Good Food Box - Armstrong & Enderby $2,000

• Glad Tidings brown bag lunch program $2,000

For groups such as the Shuswap Hospital Foundation, the funding towards the hospital’s new pulmonary machine will reduce wait times as patients can go to Salmon Arm instead of waiting to go to Vernon.

Funds for the Vernon hospital will also help reduce wait times with a second scanner being purchased.

“We are so grateful,” VJH Foundation executive director Kate McBrearty told the Bargain Bin volunteers for the years of contributions. “You have given over $1.7 million to our programs and health care in the region.”

The average age of Bargain Bin volunteers is 75 or 80, according to Farris, who enjoy giving back.

“We do it because we love it.”

READ MORE: $530K raised for new CT scanner at Vernon hospital

READ MORE: Armstrong purse project stuffed with cards, gifts


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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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