John Howard Society addictions services manager Brad Houghton (from left)

John Howard Society addictions services manager Brad Houghton (from left)

Bill’s Place gets helping hand

Kalamalka Rotary Club helps furnish John Howard Society recovery home

A new place has to have new furniture.

Thanks to a $15,000 donation from the Kalamalka Rotary Club, and the generosity of Kal Rotarian and City Furniture owner Ruby Sharma, Bill’s Place – a recovery community featuring a house and apartments – has spectacular furnishings.

“One resident was blown away with the quality of the furniture when they were moving it in, and the stuff just kept coming,” said Brad Houghton, addiction services manager with the John Howard Society who will operate Bill’s Place, located on 43rd Avenue.

“One more table, one more bed, one more set of chairs, one more chest of drawers.”

Bill’s Place is a recovery community for men seeking recovery from alcoholism and addiction.

The main house with nine beds will serve as the primary care building with the goal of transitioning the men to the nine-bed apartment on the same site, then back into society finding work.

The John Howard Society believes the new furnishings will indicate to the men recuperating that they are welcome and that the society cares about them.

“We love the final product. It’s beyond our expectations but Ruby always does come through with wonderful donations,” said Barb Levesque, executive director of the John Howard Society North Okanagan. “This is top-quality furniture. It’s beautiful and creates an atmosphere of welcoming. We want people to come in here and know we really care about them.”

Donations included beds, couches, tables, chairs and chest of drawers.

Sharma deflected praise to the entire Kalamalka Rotary Club, who raised the funds through its annual Dream Auction.

“The club could only come up with $15,000 but we made sure they were looked after,” said Sharma. “It was the club who did all of this.”

Club president Sarah Pruckl explained that Kal Rotary supports many charities with a donations committee that looks extensively at every application for funding.

“This committee sits and looks at all of our donations quite critically,” said Pruckl, a partner with Vernon-based Gumtree Catering.

“Each member is given a task of reviewing a request and seeing if it fits our criteria. This one (Bill’s Place) was supported unanimously by our club.”

Pruckl praised Sharma’s generosity while Levesque also gave thanks to all Kalamalka club members, some of whom gave donations from their own pocket after Levesque spoke about Bill’s Place at a Rotary meeting.

The John Howard Society hopes to have Bill’s Place fully operational by the first week of April.

Bill’s Place is named in memory of longtime Vernon resident Bill Hesketh, former executive director for the JHS and founder of Vernon-based Howard House.