Employees from Telus clear up at Kelowna meals financial institution | Enterprise Information

David Wilkins and his daughter, Estee, weren’t playing around at the Kelowna Community Food Bank on Saturday.

They were part of a team of 40 Telus Days of Giving volunteers cleaning the Ellis Street distribution centre, collecting and sorting tons of food donations, and, in their case, organizing toys, books and other gifts in what David describes as “the Christmas room.” Food bank clients can pick up gifts for Christmas and other special occasions there.

This is the 10th anniversary for Telus Days of Giving, the seventh year for Wilkins.

“It’s a fantastic event. It’s an important part of our Telus family to give back to the community,” said Wilkins, part of the Telus business solutions team. “It’s just an amazingly satisfying feeling to know that you’re contributing back to our community.”

His daughter and another little girl also tidied up a children’s playroom where kids hang out while their parents pick up food.

Wilkins brought his nine-year-old daughter because “it’s critical to having a society that cares about each other.”

“We need to know that there are other people who don’t have all that we have,” he said. “And we’re not to take it for granted. It’s really important that we teach our generations to give back, to share, to take care of each other.”

It was the third Telus Days of Giving for Estee, a Grade 4 French immersion student at Dorothea Walker Elementary School.

“It was kind of fun,” she said. “(This year), I donated a book, les Chouchous des Professeures.”

Jennifer Park, community investment manager for Telus, noted this year’s goal is 16,000 Telus volunteers completing 1,400 projects in 80 communities from May 16 to June 15.

“It will be the largest corporate initiative across Canada. As of yesterday, we had 15,200 registered,” she said.

In addition to the food bank cleanup and food drive, 80 Telus volunteers in Kelowna are also doing an adopt-a-road cleanup on Gerstmar Road, working at Abbey House and Okanagan College, and serving meals at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission every weekend.

Most employees are involved in more than one activity; Park is participating in eight of them during the month.

“We’ll be all over the place, helping all the different charities,” she said. “In addition, the Telus Thompson-Okanagan Community Board gave away two 10th Telus Days of Giving anniversary grants. So we selected the Kelowna Community Food Bank to receive a $10,000 grant. We gave the other to the Kamloops Boys and Girls Club.”

Tammy Jackson, in charge of revenue development and special events for the food bank, said the goal is 10,000 pounds of food, a significant increase from the 7,000 pounds collected during the inaugural Telus doorstep food drive last year.

Spring is traditionally a slow time for donations following the Christmas food drive and before the Christmas in July campaign, she noted.

“We run critically low on a number of items like the pasta, chunky soup, canned tuna and salmon,” Jackson said. “This is an opportunity — once Christmas donations have run out of those key items — to replenish those on our shelves for our clients. So this has been a great, great, great help.”

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