The Shop of Wonders is back and bigger than ever in Penticton, as it’s set to take over the S.S. Sicamous.
The outreach program, organized by members of the Bethel Church, provides gifts to families who need a little help in making the holidays special.
“Last year was our first year, and we had 150 kids, this year we’re over 300 kids,” said Irene Hill, the director of sponsorship for the Shop of Wonders. “We’re still accepting donations but there’s been just an amazing outpouring of support from everyone, from Staples doing the printing for us, a storage facility in town giving us a locker to use, the community has been amazing.”
The Shop of Wonders was set up last year in the Stern Saloon, but with the doubling in the number of kids for this year the shop is moving into the S.S. Sicamous itself.
The families are contacted by the volunteers and invited to come shop in privacy and dignity, whether it’s the parent or parents on their own or with the kids themselves.
The focus of the shop is to provide a happy holiday even for families who are facing hardships in their lives. Some of the examples of families who are being supported include a recent arrival from the Middle East and one who facing a battle with cancer.
“The moms and dads work so hard and they’re doing their best and we just want to be like, ‘You’re not on your own in this,’” said Hill. “Then on Christmas Day, they can be the heroes in their kids’ eyes.”
Volunteers will be at the S.S. Sicamous to help the families, whether it’s helping the kids pick out their gifts or wrapping up the presents for a Christmas surprise from the parents for their children.
Kids will get one large Santa gift, two medium Elf gifts, and some stocking stuffers to make their holidays special.
Donations are open until Dec. 15, Hill said, and can be made by dropping off toys and gifts at Home Hardware or Garden Works in Penticton. The Shop of Wonders will also be set up at Magic on Main Street in Penticton on Dec. 3.