Car Seats for Local Families

From the Penticton Herald, August 28, 2019

Forty-six local children will now ride more safely, thanks to a shipment of free car seats received Wednesday by a Penticton non-profit agency through a region-wide initiative.

Working in partnership with other organizations, United Way Southern Interior B.C. is delivering 169 car seats throughout the Okanagan, a significant jump from last year’s 114.

Eighteen seats were delivered to OneSky Community Resources in Penticton. The balance of the remaining 46 seats will be delivered throughout communities in the South Okanagan.

“Around 5% of young infants who should be in car seats are not, due to difficult financial decisions in the family and having to choose between a car seat and putting food on the table,” said Jude Brunt, community investment manager for United Way.

That means approximately 2,000 children in the Okanagan Valley are affected, said Brunt.

“It’s basically related to poverty and making tough decisions, which you shouldn’t have to do when safety is at stake,” she said.

OneSky executive director Tanya Behardien said she knows families believe in safety first for their children, but understands the tough position they’re put in when funds are tight.

“I think poverty is a big challenge in our community, and the gap between the rich and the poor is significant,” she said. “When talking to families, you can see how they’re really trying to make ends meet. They’re working really hard, they’re working two or three jobs and they’re trying to figure out how to put the pieces of the puzzle together.”

The partnership included the Central Okanagan Foundation, KGH Foundation and Paul Docksteader Foundation.

Brunt said she believes the initiative, which is into its fifth year, will continue to grow and hopes more partners come on board.

“Hopefully we’ll get closer to those 2,000 kids who need them,” she said.