Mayor Akbal Mund presents Lisa Anderson, executive director of the Upper Room Mission in Vernon, with a cheque for $1,798.88 - the proceeds of the city’s kindness meters, at the URM on Tuesday afternoon. (Erin Christie/Morning Star)

Mayor Akbal Mund presents Lisa Anderson, executive director of the Upper Room Mission in Vernon, with a cheque for $1,798.88 - the proceeds of the city’s kindness meters, at the URM on Tuesday afternoon. (Erin Christie/Morning Star)

Mayor presents kindness meter proceeds to Upper Room Mission

Spare change spreads kindness

The Upper Room Mission will benefit from people’s generosity this Christmas as the recipient organization of this year’s kindness meter proceeds.

Mayor Akbal Mund presented a cheque for $1,798.88, on behalf of the City, to Lisa Anderson, executive director of the Upper Room Mission, just after lunch hour on Dec. 21.

The funds were collected in five orange meters placed at key locations around the city, between January and the first week of December.

The meters were initially rolled out in Vernon in June 2016 as an attempt by the City to address “aggressive” panhandling.

While panhandling is not illegal, panhandling to vehicles is, and is a violation of the B.C. Safe Streets Act and city bylaws.

The concept of the kindness meters is to allow residents to donate spare change to charitable groups including the John Howard Society, the Upper Room Mission and the Salvation Army, to help those in need instead of giving money directly to individuals on the street. Last year the proceeds were donated to the Salvation Army.

In his remarks, Mund said the meters are a “great way to help,” while ensuring that donations get “where they’re supposed to go.”

Anderson said the funds donated to the Mission will go to support their programming and outreach services, which they hope to expand. The Upper Room Mission has been in operation in Vernon since 1980. They serve more than 350 meals a day.

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Erin ChristiMorning Star Staff