PIT Stop worth $80,000 to Kamloops United Church
When it’s time to celebrate, the kitchen at Kamloops United Church will be able to serve up a meal in style.
That dinner will be cooked on new equipment as the church, through its People in Transition program — the PIT Stop — has won $80,000 in the Aviva Community Fund.
Rose Soneff, who is running the meals program for marginalized and homeless people at the church, said receiving the money is fantastic because the kitchen was built and equipped in the 1950s and the stoves don’t always work properly.
In fact, one of the two large industrial stoves died recently.
“And, we pushed and pulled it out and replaced it with a household stove just to get by,” Soneff said.
The meals program on Sundays, which sees upwards of 150 people fed, isn’t the only one to use the kitchen as it is used by the church for special meals for the congregation.
Other agencies also rely on it.
Beyond the opportunity to equip the kitchen better is the reality the Aviva competition has raised awareness of the program, Soneff said.
And, one of the most touching times during the months-long competition was during the second round of online voting, when the people at Western Canada Theatre, realizing their own project to upgrade the Pavilion Theatre wouldn’t succeed, asked supporters to start voting for the PIT Stop.
“We value so much what Western Canada Theatre did,” Soneff said.
“That was so gracious of them. I hope they enter next year so we can help support them, too.”
Aviva holds the competition annually.
There are three levels of public voting and, once finalists are identified, judges make the ultimate decision.
The insurance company is spending $1 million on 12 projects that entered the four dollar-value categories: Large ($100,000 to $150,000), medium ($50,000 to $100,000, the one PIT Stop was in), small (up to $50,000) and broker-supported (projects that are submitted or voted for by an Aviva brokerage.)
Glenn Cooper, Aviva public-relations spokesman, said his company is looking forward to having representatives be at the church to celebrate with the PIT Stop team when they cut the ribbon on new fridges and stoves.
He said criteria the judges apply when reviewing finalists include sustainability, longevity and impact on the community.
“They weren’t asking for money to buy food; they were asking for money to keep something continuing that feeds people who might otherwise not have a meal that day,” Cooper said.
He said the insurance company provides the grant program because it’s a way of giving back to organizations that help people.
“We’re in the business of helping people in their time of need and this is an extension of that,” he said.
“When we deal with someone, it’s either they’re paying their bill or they’ve suffered a loss.
“This is a way to have good, positive interactions.”