June 17, 2024
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By Roger Knox

Animal Auxiliary Thrift Store Christmas hampers in doubt after roof leak on Tuesday, December 5

Gena Barzan has helped others recover from disasters.

The director of the local thrift shop is now appealing to the public.

Barzan, a director at the Animal Auxiliary Thrift Store in Vernon’s downtown, is located on the 3100 Block of 29th Avenue. The building sustained significant damages due to the leaky roof that occurred Tuesday morning.

Barzan, adamant and tearful, said: “When we arrived this morning, there was water everywhere from the roof, which had been leaking intermittently for the past month-and a half, as well as the collapsed ceiling in some areas.”

Many items in the shop were damaged.

Barzan said that the auction raises funds to fund all of the above. “It is under our refrigerators and freezers. And damaged items in boxes that have already been paid for,” he added.

Stores will be closed for a few weeks if not more, and possibly until the end of this month.

The timing could not be more unfortunate. Every month on the last Thurday, the thrift shop gives away hampers for seniors. In December, 54 senior citizens received special Christmas hampers, which included items like canned foods, fruit and vegetables, chicken and ham as well as cards with greetings and Christmas wishes from customers.

Now hampers prepared Dec. 19, and delivered Dec. 22, are at serious risk.

Barzan said, “People depend on us to provide enough food for their hampers. For one month of the year they don’t use any money from their pension check for food.” This helps them pay their bills.

The Christmas hampers we receive are very important to us. We’re all very upset. Everyone is crying as volunteers arrive this morning. It’s the season when we give so much. “To think that we may not be able to do it is hurtful.

Barzan, the company’s owner, said that this year has been particularly difficult because the cost of other products and food items have increased.

Stores are usually open for four days per week in order to pay the rent and other overhead. Barzan stated that they would need financial help.

She said, “I would love it if this were a Hollywood story, with a happy end and we could be opened tomorrow. But, unfortunately, that’s not the case.”

If you can help, call Barzan at 1-250-438-0062.

The Starting Block sells trail, running and walking gear. Penny Trudel, the owner of The Starting Block says that her business is open and hasn’t been affected.

The Canadian Mental Health Association Vernon and District owns an unoccupied building on the other side, and plans to use it as the future location of the Foundry. The Foundry is a mental health resource for North Okanagan families and youth.

The CMHA building is equipped with a different roof system. In an email, the organization stated that it was not aware of water in the building on Tuesday afternoon.

The CMHA Vernon has been informed of the flood at the Animal Auxiliary Thrift Store. Our thoughts go out to this passionate and dedicated group of volunteers. The Canadian Mental Health Association Vernon and District said that they do important work for our community.

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