• Saturday , 28 January 2023

Lions launch collectable Christmas ornament fundraiser

The Lions inaugural Christmas ornament.

Joanne Layh

A new fundraising initiative has been launched to help the Peachland Historic School Accessible Plaza reach its goal of raising $400,000, this time spearheaded by the Peachland Lions Club.

The Lions are hoping the community goal to modify the front of the historic schoolhouse to make it more accessible and create a plaza area will get a little closer to realization with a pewter Christmas ornament fundraiser.

Like many service groups, the Peachland Lions Club has been struggling to fundraise during the pandemic. In non-COVID times, the service group normally hosts a couple key fundraisers each year and its members are routinely spotted offering concession services at various events in the community.

In an effort to come up with a COVID-friendly fundraising activity, the Lions have decided to begin producing a collectable annual Christmas ornament featuring a treasure of Peachland.

“The concept for this came from Linda and John Craven,” Peachland Lions Club member Dave Stuart told the View.

The Cravens were Lions Club members in a community in Ontario that raised funds by producing collectable pewter Christmas ornaments each year and it occurred to the couple that this might be something that could also take off in Peachland.

“That’s where the idea came for our project here. The concept is that we’ll create a new ornament every year,” said Stuart.

Stuart said Lions member Shelley Sweeney also belongs to the Peachland Historic School Accessible Plaza Society and it was through her involvement with the society that the Lions decided to get involved in supporting the accessible plaza project. 

The Peachland Lions Club agreed it would be a fabulous project to support, but with an inability to raise funds in the usual way, it wasn’t immediately clear how they could help.

“We said, ‘let’s support this plaza and make the first Christmas ornament a replica of the historic school,’” said Stuart. “The primary school is our visitor centre, our gallery, our boys and girls club. It really is a focal point for our community. So our thought was how can we support the enhancement of this thing? We already have this as the heart of our community and if we add a plaza outside, we can add community events there. We can have all kinds of activities. It’ll just be a complete focal point for the community as far as I’m concerned.”

Providing accessibility in the community is something the Lions have long supported, from the wheelchair ramp and aquatic wheelchair at Swim Bay to the more recent Ray Kandola Heritage Pier, so it made sense for them to be a part of the accessible plaza project.

“It’s all about accessibility. It’s all about making sure everybody has a chance to participate to whatever extent they want,” said Stuart.

So far only 200 ornaments have been produced, but if the demand exists for more, the club will have more made.

Stuart says the keepsakes will make a great gift for friends and family members.

The ornaments will go on sale June 1 at the Peachland Visitor Centre and will sell for $20 each. Each ornament will come in a small mesh bag along with a pamphlet that outlines the history of the primary school building.

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