Spotlight on Hands In Service

Hands in Service logo with saying love gives back

“Lean on me, when you’re not strong. I’ll be your friend; I’ll help you carry on…” Every individual deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Every person has needs that require assistance. Everyone wants to have connection with someone who cares. Value individuals. Meet needs. Build Relationships.

Our agency is unique in our community for provision of free volunteer support to adult community members who find themselves, for whatever reason, without finance, without social support, without mobility, without health, without physical or mental capacity to cope with day to day living, and often without hope. What if that was you? What if you were once fully engaged in life and now you are alone, often in pain, trying to access enough food and manage household cleaning to maintain your tenancy without causing yourself additional physical harm and emotional grief.

Hands in Service:

  • Provides free, compassionate and relational non-medical home care, referral services and food security assistance to vulnerable adults struggling with health and mobility; financial and social limitations.
  • Builds community through volunteerism, community partnership and multiplicationIn 2002 home supports were cut from health care services in BC. In 2012 Statistics Canada reported that there were 685,970 Canadians 16 – 64 years that could be our clients. Hands in Service provides a unique, valuable service, organizational experience and well-defined programs to meet this identified service gap. “We have a huge lack of government funded programs to provide all the services needed in our community and truly need volunteer services to help our clients.” Carrie Pettit RN BSN Interior Health Authority

    For our clients, there is nowhere else to go for the help Hands in Service provides.

  • Energetic Hands – a service of four hours a month facilitated as an ongoing assignment with specific volunteer (s), maintaining basic housekeeping, laundry and/or simple food preparation to an assigned client.
  • Blitz – a service of several hours of major cleaning by a team of volunteers to provide relief from an
    overwhelming housekeeping situation with the intent of establishing a base line from which regular cleaning can be maintained.
  • Food hamper delivery for Central Okanagan Community Food Bank clients
  • Living Salads – the concept of community gardens provided with 15” indoor/outdoor full of renewable greens and tomatoes for harvest during the growing season.
  • Resource Line –help clients find resources such as help to move, legal aid, affordable cleaning services, tenancy issues, optional food resources, visitation, emotional support, medical supports and other community services.In 2016 we were thrilled to add new partnerships that have rocked our world and significantly impacted direct benefits to vulnerable “at risk” and complex care clients in our community.

Youth Action Teams
Combine four high school classes, practice and theory with real life problems and training. Kelowna Christian School Social Justice 12 student teams partnered with Hands in Service adult mentors to provide bi weekly in home service, meal preparation and delivery to clients.

“I’m extremely impressed with the youth from the school who were eager to jump in and help…my client…in a respectful and timely fashion.” Carrie Pettit RN BSN Interior Health Authority

This project built on the Social Justice Class concepts and acquired knowledge to allow students to recognize and understand the causes of injustice, develop an understanding of what it means to act in a socially just manner, become responsible agents of change and make positive contributions toward a socially just world. Students gained first-hand knowledge of the financial and physical limitations challenging our most vulnerable community members, providing students with a broader perspective of the value of volunteering, its social impact and of their community.

Team leaders mentored students and engaged clients; creating some ongoing, inter-generational and diverse community and continuity as they cooked and provided frozen meals, and with set teams served every week, twice a week, with alternating clients to provide food security and basic housekeeping services. We are excited about engaging and shaping our future leaders to carry on Canadian altruistic values. “They (Hands in Service) are actively engaging in passing along the values of volunteering to the next generation.” Client Jonathon

The introduction of this program has revolutionized our capacity and provided a sustainable model creating massive benefits in 2016 and for the future, for our clients, volunteers and the community.

  • Engaging students twice a week has effectively doubled service hours in one year
  • Adult team leader partnerships contributed to a total of 4680 mentoring hours
  • To facilitate the 150 new volunteers we adapted our orientation to include things like: What’s the right way to wash the dishes?; Why wear gloves?; What order do you clean things in the bathroom? Because these are things we need to know!
  • Almost eliminated our wait list for the first time in at least 10 years
  • Added bi-weekly service to 60 new clientsDevelopment and implementation of our Youth Action Teams (YAT) has consumed most of 2016 but we did manage to squeeze in some Other Highlights
  • Open House for new offices – hosting friends from about 40 organization – facilitating increased capacity; boy did we!
  • Attendance at Living on the Edge Poverty Simulation
  • Planting Edibles at the Greater Westside Board of Trade #JointheFoodMovement– collaboration with Central Okanagan Food Bank, Kelowna Christian School, Incredible Edibles, Hands in Service and other community partners for “a continuum of food security”.
  • Living Salads – largest distribution ever and incorporation of multi generations in assembly and delivery
  • Awareness and fundraising events – Magical Night of Laughter, Love·Gives·Back Campaign- Walk & Roll Walker-thon; highest percentage of clients in attendance!

    – Touch of Christmas Fair

  • Educating for the future with UBCO and Okanagan College students providing training opportunities and partnership to promote Hands in Service, producing our first commercial and facilitating two annual events.
  • Advocating for our community with – Lake Country Health Planning- United Way
    – Volunteer Opportunities Fair
    – Kelowna Community Food Assessment
    – Central Okanagan Handydart Action Coalition
    – The Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence
  • Impacting our community with combined efforts of diverse organizations to address local needs and contribute to a high caliber of health and food security services through Volinspire, Kelowna Community Resource, Interior Health Community Care, Central Okanagan Food Bank, United Way Days of Caring with Bank of Montreal and Days of Difference with Interior Savings and Credit Union, Telus, Central Okanagan Foundation, Karis Society, Pathways Abilities and a range of about 60 different organizations.
  • And finally, we have embraced the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, expressing 7 of the 17 Goals.and with less than 3 full time equivalent staff and our wonderful volunteers, in 2016 Hands in Service has delivered:
  • Almost 10,500 volunteer hours – an increase of 98% in direct client service hours
  • 4,680 mentoring hours – almost double last year
  • 607 in home visits averaging 2 hours each – an increase of 43%
  • 502 active volunteers representing more than 60 organizations and churches – an increase of 38%
  • Trained 150 new volunteers using our new and adapted online orientation
  • 2,213 individual services – an increase of 23%
  • A 16% reduction in administrative volunteer hours as we redirected to meet client service needs
  • 964 food hampers delivered – another consistent increase this year of 10%
  • 100`s of information and phone referrals
  • 304 Living Salads delivered – this program has increased every year since inception with another 15% this year
  • Costs to facilitate the basic housekeeping and other services through hired maids and other professionals could cost as much as $310,000.00 and would have none of the social benefits.
  • In kind donations of overhead costs, professional services and other in kind donations to assist Hands in Service and clients would easily account for another $50,000.00.“It’s heartwarming to know that we have such wonderful volunteer services available to help support some of our most vulnerable clients in our community.” Carrie Pettit RN BSN Interior Health Authority

    Never in our history have we doubled our service hours in a year. Love · Gives · Back is our privilege and honor as we contribute all we can to build a sustainable, supportive and caring community for now and as a legacy for the future.


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