• Good News Stories


    A Vernon-based distillery has teamed up with a local brewery to re-purpose beer destined for the drain into hand sanitizer.

    To date, Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery, a family-run business with locations in both Kelowna and Vernon, has already donated around 40,000 bottles of locally-produced hand sanitizer made from the distillery’s fruit and grains to frontline medical workers and other community agencies.

    But the distillery said that number would be significantly lower without the support of Vernon’s Okanagan Springs Brewery.

    Recently, the two joined forces to distil Okanagan Springs’ excess beer into “much needed” hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Thousands of litres of good beer gets destroyed every day in our province due to fluctuations in market demand,” the distillery said. “With the current economic conditions and unfortunate hit on the restaurant industry, the number of full kegs sitting idle is staggering.”

    The distillery describes this partnership as a “win-win” as breweries are required by the province to pay fees to properly destroy excess beer.

    Individuals or businesses interested in picking up a bottle of locally produced hand sanitizer can visit the Vernon or Kelowna location. One complimentary bottle is provided with any purchase of an Okanagan Spirits’ product, but for those who don’t drink, sanitizer can be purchased by donation. Donations go toward the “Harness your inner Superhero” initiative, which continues the support of frontline medical workers.

    For more information on Okanagan Spirits’ Flatten the Curve Hand Sanitizer, visit okanaganspirits.com.

    (Morning Star article)



    Watkin Motors Ford has distributed 200 face shields to organizations within the North Okanagan.

    The community groups include the BC SPCA Vernon & District Branch, North Okanagan Youth & Family Services Society, Kindale Developmental Association, Turning Points, Abbeyfield Vernon, NexusBC Community Resource Centre, Lumby & District Health Services Society and the The Salvation Army - Vernon, BC.

    "A big shout-out to the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation for reaching out to see which organizations needed personal protection equipment," states Watkin Motors.

    "Thank you to the amazing staff who took time out of their day to help deliver this needed equipment."

    Watkin Motor received the face shields from Ford Canada.

    Allison Heck (left) and Lyndsay de Jong (right), with the Lumby and District Health Services Society,

    receive face shields from Abby Lagerquist and Steve Chickloski, with Watkin Motors Ford.



    Sara White’s day started like the average day for a new mom usually does. Four-month-old Isla was awake early and the morning quickly disappeared in a flurry of feedings, playtime and laundry, before a phone call changed everything.
    “Hello, Sara? This is Pat from Bannister Honda. I just wanted to let you know, your story really moved us, and I’m thrilled to tell you that we’ve chosen you and Isla to receive a vehicle as part of our Giving Back Campaign. Congratulations!”
    The Giving Back Campaign from Bannister Honda was launched at the beginning of April as the effects of Covid-19 were really starting to affect families here in the Okanagan. For Pat Loehndorf, general manager and partner at Bannister Honda, he saw first hand how quickly families were being affected.
    “It was clear from talking to our customers that this crisis was hitting hard and hitting fast. There’s a lot of need in our community, and I wanted to do whatever I could to help," he said.
    For Loehndorf, that meant looking at his inventory, and selecting some vehicles to give away.
    “We know that reliable transportation can be hard to come by during a public health crisis. That’s something I can help with, and we started with a safe, reliable Toyota Corolla to give away to a family who needs it," he said.
    After putting out the call for nominations April 1, Bannister Honda received more than 100 entries in less than a month. A panel of Bannister Honda employees went through every entry, finally narrowing it down to Sara and Isla. "Their story really hit us hard," said Loehndorf.
    That story started last fall when Isla was born.
    “I had a very complicated pregnancy followed by a very traumatic birth that..." said White, who pauses to catch herself before continuing.
    “My baby girl and I had a really tough start, and both of us almost died. We are so thankful to the incredible doctors at Vernon Jubilee Hospital and Vancouver Children’s Hospital who kept us alive and together today.”
    As a single mom, White’s introduction to motherhood was further complicated by the Covid-19 crisis closing support groups and activities that new moms rely on, and making it hard to get to necessary doctors appointments without a vehicle.
    “I can’t describe how much this is going to change our lives. To have such a huge source of worry and stress lifted of my shoulders is just, so amazing," said White.”
    White picked up the vehicle from Bannister Honda, accompanied by Isla and Sara’s mother Wendy, whose nomination had caught the attention of Loehndorf and his staff.
    “My mom has been such a huge help to me through my life, and this is just the latest example of what an incredible woman she is," said White.
    After signing the papers and securing Isla’s car seat safely in the back seat, White turned the key on her new vehicle for the first time. As she drove off the lot, with Bannister Honda’s staff cheering her on, Loehndorf could not contain his smile.
    “I’ve had thousands of happy customers drive off the lot, but this one, this one is special. I can’t wait to do this again in May," he said.
    Nominations to receive a vehicle remain open until May 27 as Bannister Honda has a 2008 Honda Civic to give away to another family in need. If you know someone who can use a reliable vehicle, nominate them at bannisterhonda.com/givingback/

    Jack Declair (left), Jesse Clifford and Pat Loehndorf, with Bannister Honda, present a vehicle to Isla and Sarah White.


    Many families are struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic, but a Vernon accounting firm is ensuring those families are receiving the support they need.

    Clark Robinson Chartered Professional Accountants has provided $1,060 to the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club Covid-19 fund through Jeans Day Fridays and other donations.

    "We recognize that this is difficult time for some families and we send a big thank you to the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club and other local organizations for the work they do year-round to assist and support our community," states Clark Robinson in a release.

    The Okanagan Boys and Girls Club has identified three ways the community can support families:

    * Adopt-A-Family program - Through donations, the OBGC can provide gift cards so families can purchase the food, basic essentials, and supplies needed to ensure their families are healthy, safe, and cared for.

    * Gift of Discovery - Virtual, interactive programs so children and youth continue to experience new opportunities, build positive relationships, and develop confidence and skills for life.

    *Boys and Girls Club Continuity and Sustainability Fund - OBGC has celebrated 60 years of service to children, youth and families and it want to make sure it's here in another 60 years.

    Kyle, Marianne and Val represent the staff at Clark Robinson who raised $1,060.00 in

    support of the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club Covid-19 fund (photo submitted). 



    Date night is alive and well at a Greater Vernon cidery.

    The BX Press held a wood-fired pizza night April 29 at the East Vernon Road property.

    "It went so well and we had great feedback," said Missy Dobernigg, owner of The BX Press with husband David.

    Couples, and some families, were greeted by David as they drove in, and from the comfort of their vehicle, their order was confirmed by Missy and the BX Press team. 

    And waiting for your pizza to be cooked has never been so much fun as local performers - Tyler Zyla, Tanya Lipscomb, Josh & Bex and Brent Ridge - took to the mic and serenaded the guests.

    Once the pizzas were delivered, the guests headed home for dinner and to follow the rest of the performances via live-streaming.

    The evening was an opportunity for residents to support a local business and musicians while ensuring that all requirements for social distancing were met.

    Watch the BX Press website for more events to come.

    Missy Dobernigg hands over pizza during the drive-thru night at BX Press.

    (Greater Vernon Chamber photo)