It’s become a regular hang-out for those interested in online gaming, Internet access, or simply socializing in the downtown core.
But non-gamers may not know that the Downtown Internet Lounge is also a well known contributor to the community.
Money is collected at the Downtown Internet’s Lounge’s annual anniversary drive every year and is donated to a local charity or community organization, said Josh Brazier, who co-owns the lounge with his business partner John Oh.
This year, the lounge, which has been in business for four years, once again collected backpacks for the Upper Room Mission’s annual Christmas backpack program.
“For a number of people, this will be the only gift they receive. It really helps put things in perspective when you realize there are so many people living with next to nothing,” said Brazier.
“Society in this day and age can become so focused on having the latest and greatest, they often forget just how well off we are living here in Canada, especially us, that have the pleasure of calling the Okanagan home.”
A silent auction and a number of raffles, along with various promotions, rewarded the lounge’s patrons with free online time in exchange for items such as backpacks, toques and gloves. With support from the community – friends, family, customers and other business owners – as well as funds donated by Brazier and Oh, the lounge was able to reach its goal of 50 backpacks filled with items.
“When we first set out, we wanted to do something big, something that would surpass previous efforts to raise money and awareness for those down on their luck or struggling to get by during these tougher economic times,” said Brazier.
The backpacks have been filled with basic necessities such as socks, gloves, hats, scarves, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, deodorant, razors, shaving cream, dental floss, small packs of Kleenex, soap, gum, candy, pens, notebooks and even a Christmas decoration.
Dr. Craig Goplen donated the toothbrushes and toothpaste for all 50 backpacks and the Fairfield Inn and Suites donated multiple bars of soap for every backpack.
“We would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our friends and families, as well as those who simply heard about our goal and wanted to contribute to the cause” said Brazier.
The public has until today to drop off backpacks, which will be given out Thursday at the Upper Room Mission’s Christmas Eve dinner.
“Everyone should receive something during Christmas, especially those that are in need. No one should be left out. Although we aren’t giving away lavish gifts, we are providing some essential goods in the backpacks to help people out this holiday season,” added Oh.