April 25, 2021
It began with two sisters who had a small idea to make Valentine’s cards to give to local seniors on February 14th, but it grew into something much bigger than they could have imagined. Jill Hotchkiss and Carla Temme have always practiced random acts of kindness in their family, so when it came to doing something special for Valentine’s Day showing up for elderly folks in the community who may be feeling isolated and alone seemed like the right fit. Carla Temme who is a teacher at Watson Elementary decided to get her own class involved with making Valentine’s cards as well, but once the rest of the school learned what Mrs. Temme’s class was up to everyone wanted to join. With help from the school and the community, Jill and Carla gave a thousand Valentine’s cards to seniors in thirteen care homes across the Okanagan.
When we heard this story we knew we had to participate with our Gratitude Project. We reached out to Jill and Carla and told them we would love to elevate their act of kindness by making a $2,000 donation to a charity in their honour. And they knew the perfect charity to support: Seniors Outreach and Resource Centre.
Seniors Outreach provides many services working to enhance the lives of seniors in Kelowna. This time of year, they are busy with their Volunteer Tax Program, providing low-income seniors with free tax preparation. Since the pandemic, Seniors Outreach has seen an increase in community support and volunteers, showing once again how this community shows up for one another even in the most difficult times.
The best part of the Gratitude Project is getting the opportunity to bring together community members with charity organizers. We were able to sit down with Jill and Senior Outreach Executive Director, Vi Sorenson to say thank you for all their hard work and contribution. A small act of kindness has big ripple effects, and what was once just an idea turned into an act of giving that grew a thousand fold.