Tolko is supporting at-risk youth through a new community investment program.
Communications coordinator Maritza Reilly says the Vernon based forest firm is donating $150,000 to 20 non profit groups in the Western Canadian communities they operate in.
“We want to give back to the communities we operate in, so that’s the main reason,” Reilly tells Kiss FM.
Reilly says many of the organizations being helped focus on at risk youth.
“It’s a wide array of organizations like boys and girls clubs, women’s shelters, breakfast clubs, and YMCA.”
Tolko is providing $27,000 to be split among four local groups: the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation ($7,000), North Okanagan Youth & Family Services ($7,000), Starfish Pack ($6,000) and Okanagan Boys and Girls Club ($7,000).
The recipients were chosen by Tolko employees, who outlined a list of organizations that provide an essential service to their communities.
“We looked at each one individually and we were able to narrow down our selections. And specially with the Starfish Pack (provides a weekend backpack of food for elementary school children in need), an employee brought this forward and was very passionate about the service it provides to children in Vernon,” says Reilly.
“We started a pilot program with 20 backpacks in one school in April 2016,” says Dr. Carmen Larsen, Community Services Director for Kalamalka Rotary Club. “We had overwhelming support for the program from students, parents and the community. With the recent support from Tolko, there is now a total of 67 backpacks being delivered to children at six elementary schools in the Vernon area each week.”
Reilly says the program is expected to be an annual event, possibly changing the focus, depending to what the employees decide.
“It’s definitely something Tolko will be supporting ongoing.”