Many hands involved in the Fruitvale Community Chest make great work and their group effort has been recognized as the 2017 Beaver Valley Citizen of the Year. Submitted photo

Fruitvale Community Chest named BV Citizen of the Year

Sharing in the Beaver Valley; Fruitvale Community Chest recognized as Citizen of the Year.

Humble people are often the most generous people, their quiet reach can weave a community together in ways that might surprise some.

It’s those qualities – unassuming and ongoing support of local charitable causes – that has the Fruitvale Community Chest being named the 2017 Beaver Valley Citizen of the Year.

“We could not have chosen a more deserving group,” said Grace Terness, on behalf of the selection committee. “Within this society there are many individuals, past and present, who would be eligible for this award in their own right. By choosing the Fruitvale Community Chest we are recognizing each and every individual for their community involvement and dedication.”

All are welcome to the public ceremony slated for Friday at 7 p.m. in the Beaver Valley curling rink. The event kicks off Beaver Valley May Days with flare, following the public reception, fireworks will light up the sky.

Terness encourages everyone, including past recipients, to come and pay homage to Fruitvale Community Chest volunteers.

She added, “Please come out and extend your thanks to this organization for the support given to so many over the years.”

There is a modest twist to this story, however.

Initially, the group’s long serving president Douglas Hall and his wife Barbara Hall were selected as this year’s recipients.

When Terness contacted the Halls, they had one self-effacing request.

The couple has volunteered for the charity since the 80s, but so have many others.

“When they were called and advised of the award, they suggested that it would be wonderful if the Community Chest as a whole could be recognized as there were many other long-term directors just as deserving,” Terness shared. “So, again this year, we are recognizing another Beaver Valley organization.”

The group’s annual fundraising goal is $25,000, half of which supports the Fruitvale food bank and 100-plus Christmas hampers distributed throughout the Beaver Valley.

Besides helping their immediate neighbours, the group has long supported regional causes such as the health foundation at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, the Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, Air Cadets, Sanctuary Pre-Teen Centre and each June, they provide a graduate with a JL Crowe Citizen Scholarship. The group also supports the sickest children in the province with donations to BC Children’s Hospital.

That’s just naming a few of their goodwill ventures, because over the years, the list keeps getting longer.

“I just represent the whole Village of Fruitvale and Montrose,” said Doug, mentioning other long term directors, including Charles LeComte, a 43-year volunteer and Mary Ann Pengelly, a member since 1988. “It’s a community-type thing, there is a long list of people that help us … and we try to give to organizations that are used by the community.”

Historically, the Community Chest was kept afloat by Cominco employees (payroll deductions were matched by Cominco), donations made through door-to-door canvassing, and contributions from local service clubs, businesses, and churches.

The Community Chest has experienced what many other local and national charities report – the need is still there and growing, but money is becoming more difficult to raise.

That’s what has kept Doug a leading driver since 1984 – he does not want to see the organization fall by the wayside.

And it’s been community hands that have kept the Community Chest going strong.

These days, Beaver Valley Recreation hosts Breakfast with Santa on behalf of the group, Liberty Foods provides $10 bags of groceries for citizens to purchase for Christmas hampers with leftovers going to the food bank, and people still give what they can when Community Chest volunteers come knocking.

At one time, the group provided Christmas hampers only to those on social assistance. With so many families scraping by paycheque to paycheque, Doug says the group has expanded its reach.

“We’ve opened it up a bit more to try and help people that are working but just getting by,” he shared. “So we’ve gone from 35 hampers up to 120 … what we do is coordinate our list with the Fruitvale United Church food bank, plus we have people that are nominated by someone who knows someone in need, or we have some who phone in (and ask) who aren’t on the food bank list,” he added. “We aren’t an organization or anything, we don’t check on people – if someone phones us up and needs help, I put them on the list.”

For more information about the non profit Fruitvale Community Chest, visit fruitvalecommunitychest.weebly.com.

Just Posted

Grand Forks SAR rescue lost hunter

Grand Forks SAR was called out mid-afternoon Saturday for reports of a missing hunter

High hazard in downtown Trail

Roofing work began early Monday morning at the Trail Memorial Centre

More burning prohibitions rescinded in southeast B.C.

Category 2 and 3 fires will be permitted in Southeast Fire Centre as of 1p.m. on Wednesday.

Second hospital road part of plan, says Trail mayor

Martin was in Whistler last week for the UBCM; city delegation met with health ministry

Participation by women in West Kootenay/Boundary elections up slightly

More running than in 2014, but about same number as 2011

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Province announces 74 new French teaching spots at SFU, UBC

Needed to fill demand for increasingly popular French immersion programs in B.C.

B.C. Rural Party co-founder rebukes pro-NDP accusation

Telkwa Mayor Darcy Repen disputes being NDP campaign supporter

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Most Read