Kelowna teen starts organization to support local homeless population

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Kelowna teen starts organization to support local homeless population
Kelowna teen starts organization to support local homeless population – Jan 30, 2023

A Kelowna teen recently founded an organization to help the Central Okanagan homeless population.

Tor Broughton carries food, clothing and other essential items in the trunk out of his car to hand out to those experiencing homelessness, thus sparking the start of Kelowna Street Outreach.

“I’ve always had the mindset to get out and do it yourself. I find it challenging because not a lot of people are willing to do that but it is empowering to see the change you are making,” Broughton said.

“I keep stuff in my vehicle, so I am helping out people almost every other day. Then we do organized group outings every two weeks.”

Read more: Extreme cold weather alert issued for parts of B.C. Interior

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This is not the first time that Broughton has helped Kelowna’s homeless population.

“I grew up volunteering in homeless shelters and helping out whenever my parents were volunteering where I could. But then some regulations came into effect where minors couldn’t volunteer in shelters,” Broughton said.

“In the summer, I got that spark again that I wanted to help out again and then in the fall it picked up.”

Broughton’s outreach is similar to the late John Thiessen’s work. Thiessen was a well-known advocate for the local homeless population and passed away back in December.

In the days before Thiessen’s passing, he told Global News that helping people in a time of need gave him purpose.

“What can I do to help others but yet to make me feel valued? I feel valued doing this and I feel like I have a purpose every day to make other people’s days better,” said Thiessen in December.

Read more: Well-known advocate for Kelowna homeless population dies suddenly

Meanwhile, the Kelowna Street Outreach organization runs on donations and support from volunteers. Without donations, the services that the group can offer are minimal.

And with the extreme cold temperatures still lingering, Broughton said his program has specific needs in order to support the homeless of the valley at this time.

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“When we run out of money or don’t have donations coming in, everything comes to a halt because that is how we kind of run,” he said.

“We are in need of blankets, sleeping bags, winter jackets and boots because those are the most difficult things for folks on the street to come by.”

More information on ways to donate or help out in other ways can be found on the Kelowna Street Outreach website.

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