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

Hospital improvements good news for entire region, says Trail mayor

West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District Board will review the matter next month

Life insurance can be a business expense

Tax Tips & Pits with Ron Clarke, Trail Times columnist

BC senior curling championship slides into Trail

The Trail Curling Association hosts 16 men’s and women’s teams in the senior provincial championship

Snoopy shows up in snowy Silver City

What You See: If you have a recent photo to share email (large size please) to editor@trailtimes.ca

South Slocan woman killed in Friday crash

Police continue to investigate cause of fatal crash

Mermen calendar targets ‘toxic masculinity,’ raises big money for charities

Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club gave a cheque for more than $202,000 to Violence Prevention NL

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Super snow moon set to rise across B.C.

It is the biggest and brightest moon of the year

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Social media influencers promote Kootenays

MountainGirls, The Lady Alliance founders stop in Fernie and Golden on RV tour

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Most Read