Established in January 2014, the Okanagan Commandery is committed to serving the Lord’s Sick and Poor by raising funds to support local organizations servicing the Okanagan Valley from Osoyoos, in the south, to Vernon in the north. Our Commandery is enthusiastic and growing and has identified two important projects for 2018, under the leadership of Commander Joy Zsombor, DGSJ.
Prior Robert Trowbridge, KCJSJ, Prior of Canada appointed Dame Lynda-May O’Brien, KJSJ to the position of Deputy Prior of Canada with a mandate to found new Commanderies across Canada. The Okanagan was chosen as the location for the first new Commandery and for the next year work was done to prepare the infrastructure for the new Commandery and the Commandery Foundation, as well as researching, profiling, vetting, and interviewing to identify a group of individuals who were not only making significant contributions to their communities through their professional and/or philanthropic activities; but also embraced our history and mission; shared our core values and desired to make a difference in their communities.
In January 2014, Dame Brenda J. Lyall, DCSJ, Chevalier Donald Degen, KSJ, Chevalier The Reverend Trevor Fisher, KSJ, Dame Valerie Jenkinson, DGSJ, Dame Lynda-May K. O’Brien, DJSJ, and Chevalier Bruce Strachan, KSJ transferred their memberships from the Vancouver Commandery to become Founding Members of the Commandery of the Okanagan in Formation. Since then, our membership has grown and we have worked hard to identify projects where our members can make a lasting difference, and to support established organizations. We have already begun fundraising for these ambitious projects, and look forward to seeing them through to completion. Because our Commandery is spread over a great distance, we wanted to support charities serving different local communities.
We are excited to announce our goals for 2018:
- JoeAnna’s House: Every year, thousands of families from across the interior of British Columbia must travel from their homes in order for their loved ones to receive life-saving specialist care at Kelowna General Hospital. For many families wanting to maintain a presence at KGH for the period of their loved ones’ treatment, the lack of affordable short-term accommodation in Kelowna adds significantly to their hardship. Research shows patients heal better when surrounded by their loved ones. They get better when together. In partnership with the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation, the Okanagan Commandery has committed to raising $50,000 to help build JoeAnna’s House, a home-away-from-home to keep families together when they need it most. The Family Room/ Consultation Room is to be named the “St. John Family Room/Consultation Room” in perpetuity. For more information on JoeAnna’s House, visit the website: https://www.kghfoundation.com/joeannas-house.
- Moog and Friends Hospice House: With the ever-growing need for hospice, and a shortage of hospice beds in purpose-built facilities, Moog and Friends anticipate their existing kitchen will get sharply increased use by volunteers preparing meals to take to patients experiencing hospice in their own homes. There are 4 users of the present kitchen, which is 19 years old (original to the building) and is no longer food safe. The users are (1) in-patients (2) their families (3) staff and (4) volunteers. The Okanagan Commandery has committed to raising $80,000 to have the current kitchen area closed off and renovated, with access being limited to staff and volunteers preparing meals both for in-patients and hospice patients who are being helped in their own homes. A second kitchen area would be accessed by families and volunteers who wish to make themselves a beverage or a small snack. For more information on Moog and Friends, visit the website: http://www.pentictonhospice.com/
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