Municipal workers in the central Okanagan region are donating $15,000 to help local communities weathering the COVID-19 pandemic. CUPE 338, representing over 900 municipal workers across the region, hopes the donations to the Kelowna Women’s Shelter and Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Kelowna will assist people hit hard by the public health crisis.

“CUPE 338 members live and work in communities from West Kelowna to Lake Country. As front-line workers we’ve seen first-hand how many of our friends, neighbours and fellow community members are struggling though this difficult time,” says Ken Pommier, a municipal worker and president of CUPE 338. “The Kelowna Women’s Shelter and the CMHA Kelowna provide vital supports that are more important than ever in this public health emergency. We hope these donations will help them continue this important work, especially through the holiday season.”

CUPE 338 is donating $5,000 to the Kelowna Women’s Shelter and $10,000 to the CMHA Kelowna - $5,000 of that donation is directed to the CMHA Foundry Kelowna’s mobile services, launching in spring 2021.

“We are incredibly grateful to receive this generous donation,” says Shelagh Turner, Executive Director CMHA Kelowna. “Supporting the mental health of our community has never been more important. These funds will go a long way to ensuring anyone, regardless of age, can access the resources, tools and education they need to be well.”

Ester Pike, Resource Development Coordinator for the Kelowna Women’s Shelter says, “This year has been an especially challenging time for the Kelowna Women’s Shelter and it is only through the support of community-minded groups such as CUPE 338 that we have been able to continue to offer our services and programs to women and children in need in Kelowna. We are so very thankful for their generous support.”

CUPE 338 members work for the City of Kelowna and the City airport, the Kelowna Museums Society, the District of Lake Country, Glenmore-Ellison Improvement District, Regional District of Central Okanagan, Black Mountain Irrigation District, and the BC Corps of Commissionaires (Kelowna Guards). The work they do touches every part of Okanagan life. They maintain roads, provide drinking water, maintain parks and other civic facilities, and support many other vital community resources and services.

“CUPE 338 members are proud of the communities they serve, and proud of how these communities have worked together during the pandemic,” says Pommier. “We are dedicated to continue this work over the holiday season, and in the months and years to come as we look to recover.”