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The boxes of donated warm clothing that have been filling the halls of Okanagan College’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) building are now on their way to making a difference for Kelowna’s disadvantaged.
Okanagan College’s BSN students joined up with the Pay it Forward campaign, an annual giving drive started by a former Okanagan College student and run by the College’s Alumni Association.
Each year several holiday-wrapped donation boxes are placed around the Kelowna campus for donations of blankets, clothing or unused toiletries to go to three local non-profits – Inn from the Cold, the Kelowna Women’s Shelter and Kelowna Gospel Mission.
“We knew there would be a positive response from our classmates because we had run successful projects before, including a food drive,” said Christie Kneller, a BSN student and a representative on the volunteer committee.
“But we didn’t expect this much!”
Over the past month, the group of 10 student representatives from the BSN program committee have been spreading the Pay it Forward message to their peers and encouraging them to participate.
For them, community advocacy is an important part of the nursing program and there was appeal in the broad spectrum of people in the Okanagan that are reached by the campaign.
“The spirit of selflessness, that one small action could make a big difference for someone else, is what drives the Pay it Forward campaign,” said campaign director Sarah Comba.
The 2016 campaign wrapped up at noon on December 2nd. Volunteers packed and delivered six truckloads full of donations to the non-profit organizations. The contributions from the BSN students accounted for 15% of this year’s overall donations, which collectively come from the generosity of the College’s students, employees, alumni, and external community members who have heard about the drive.