Volunteers pitched in to give the Okanagan Valley Gleaners store some upgrades ahead of its reopening on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Volunteers pitched in to give the Okanagan Valley Gleaners store some upgrades ahead of its reopening on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Outpouring of volunteerism gets Vernon charity ready for new year

North Okanagan Valley Gleaners gets help with renovations over winter break

The North Okanagan Valley Gleaners seem to be a magnet for volunteerism.

The Vernon-based organization has been undergoing renovations over the winter break, and while volunteers were touching up the walls of the second-hand furniture store, a would-be customer came by to offer his painting services free of charge.

The Gleaners are the folks locals can call when they have furniture, food, medical equipment or other materials they’d rather see go to those in need, instead of the landfill. Every year, they donate millions of soup mix servings made from recycled organics at their Lavington plant.

“The parking lot was absolutely full of volunteers,” said Gleaners board chair Brad Egerton, recalling the renovation effort earlier this week.

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As people stopped by to do some furniture shopping, one shopper couldn’t help but notice the volunteer work that was going on, and offered to help.

“When they found out that we were painting one of them said ‘I’m a painter, I’ll go get my painting clothes on and come back,” Egerton said.

“He came back and gave us a hand. It was nice, we had a few professional painters here and lots of volunteer help. And now the place looks nice and clean and ready for the new year.”

The Gleaners furniture store on 29th Street in Vernon will reopen Monday (Jan. 4) with a fresh coat, some further renovations, and donated furniture for sale. Proceeds go towards feeding the hungry all over the world, and 10 per cent of its proceeds in furniture is donated to help local people in need through various organizations.

“I love to tell people that we don’t sell furniture here, we make soup, because that’s what this is doing,” Egerton said.

The store is running low on furniture amid the slow month of January. Donations of furniture can be dropped off at the front door anytime between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Or donors can call the Gleaners at 250-549-1123 to arrange a pickup, from Oyama to Armstrong to Lavington.

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Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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