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Vernon charity benefits from SILGA generosity

Kalamalka Rotary’s Starfish Backpack program collects $3,100 from delegates
Vernon’s Kalamalka Rotary Club gained more than $3,100 for its Starfish Backback program through the generosity of delegates at the SILGA convention in Vernon. ( photo)

One local councillor’s generosity resulted in a chain reaction to help out a Vernon-based charity.

The City of Vernon played host to the annual Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA) convention at the Prestige Vernon Lodge and Conference Centre April 25-28.

At the event’s banquet, a 50-50 draw is held to support a charity of the host city’s choosing, and Vernon picked the Kalamalka Rotary Club’s Starfish Backpack program, which provides a knapsack of food each week throughout the school year to Vernon School District children who experience food insecurity.

“So SILGA goes up against the councillors from the host city to sell 50-50 tickets at our banquet and, well, we sold considerably more than the city,” laughed SILGA general manager Alison Slater.

While she may have been on the team that was outsold, Vernon Coun. Teresa Durning had her 50-50 ticket number drawn. Durning donated her winnings of $716.50 back to the charity, so a total $1,433 went to the Starfish Backpack program.

Enter Dana Egan, City of Merritt councillor.

Egan was so taken by the program she conducted a further challenge at the banquet and raised an additional $685.

That, in turn, spurred on Rikki Beaudet from the diversified energy company Enbridge.

Beaudet committed $1,000 from Enbridge’s Sunrise Expansion program to the Kal Rotary project.

In total, at a one-night banquet, $3,117 was raised for the backpack program.

The Kalamalka Rotary Club started the Starfish Pack Program in Vernon in 2016. The club started with a pilot program of 20 packs, which was so successful that it led to the program running throughout the following school year. The program serves more than 115 knapsacks each week, which benefits both students and their families.

“We are grateful for the many individuals, businesses and families that help to support our program and cover the cost of the food,” said Kal Rotary on “We are also appreciative of the many businesses and organizations that have fundraised on our behalf. It really does take a community to help address food insecurity in our communities.”

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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