Trail pre-teens now have a revitalized and energy efficient after-school hang out after FortisBC employees put some finishing touches on a $30,000 overhaul this past weekend.
Part of the company’s Community Giving Day event, employee volunteers installed new computers; high efficiency features such as condensing gas boilers, new hot water tanks and energy-efficiency lighting; and built a functional kitchen.
“What it means is that we finally actually have a kitchen, before it was basically one counter, a small island and it was kind of catch-as-catch-can,” said Barbara Gibson, chair of the Sanctuary House.
“The board members just kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Gee, I don’t know that there is anything else that we really need to do.’”
This is the first time Trail has been selected as a community to reap the benefits of the fourth annual initiative, which allows employees to take an active role in their community.
About 50 volunteers pitched in Saturday, completing a renovation to the space that was in need of an energy upgrade.
“It’s part of our social responsibility to give back to the communities where we live and work,” said Elvia Picco, community relations manager for FortisBC.
“(Sanctuary) was very pleased and grateful and appreciative of the effort that was put into it to really update the building and to make it a safer place for students to come to,” she added.
The organization that offers a safe haven for eight-to-12-year-olds between 2:30-7:30 p.m. started up in 1998 when people in the community saw a need to provide pre-teens with a safe and comfortable place to go to after school.
“It has been 13 years of ups and downs, it has been 13 years of really starting the year with only approximately 60 per cent of our funding in place and relying upon donations to keep operating,” said Gibson. “This is a great project but ongoing support is always our biggest issue.”
Beyond supplying an after-school snack and dinner, “the non-judgmental place” is stocked with a number of different activities like arts and crafts and games to entertain visitors, said the Sanctuary’s Ken Potter.
With a new kitchen, Gibson said the organization would consider operating some kind of community kitchen program, similar to one that was previously ran by Interior Health.
The registered charity provides tax-deductible receipts for donations made, which can be set up as a direct monthly withdrawal from an individual’s bank account.
To find out more, visit sanctuarytrail.org or call Potter at 368-6142.