Donate (virtual) birds today!

Donate (virtual) birds today!

Cranbrook Chamber’s Turkey Drive: a legacy of community philanthropy

The Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce 2017 Turkey Drive will culminate in a one day campaign on Thursday, December 7 with all funds raised going directly to the Salvation Army and the Cranbrook Food Bank Society.

Seven years ago, The Salvation Army came to the chamber looking for a little support, as they were short for some of their hampers that they needed for their clients. The Chamber responded by calling about a dozen people they knew they could count on and ended up raising several thousand dollars in a short period of time. Those families that were going to miss out had a hamper provided for them.

That’s the point when the Chamber and their members realized, ‘hey if we got a little bit more serious we could really make a difference,’” said David D. Hull, executive director at the Chamber.

And so that’s when the Turkey Drive began and since then it’s raised over $275,000. Their goal this year is $65,000 — all of which will be distributed equally between the Salvation Army and the Food Bank.

Hull moved here three years ago, on the Monday following the Turkey Drive Thursday and recalls feeling amazed at what had transpired and the money that was raised. Based on that he feels completely confident that they can attain this year’s goal.

“It really is amazing and it’s very heartening,” Hull said. “As someone who’s very new to Cranbrook the generosity and the care and concern of everyone for everyone in the community — it’s really quite remarkable.”

The Chamber puts together a team of pledgers they’ve dubbed “The Little Pluckers,” made up of representatives of the business community who work to collect donations through their extensive contact lists.

Former Chamber manager Karin Penner, Hull explained, is always one of their top pluckers. She chases down all the past people who were in the Sweetheart program and, $20 at a time, collects thousands of dollars from all over the world.

Individuals can donate a virtual turkey —the Chamber insists no real birds, frozen, alive or otherwise, shall be accepted — by responding to a Littler Plucker request, donating online at, by phone at (250)-426-5914 or by stopping in at the Chamber office at 2279 Cranbrook Street North. Donations are collected anytime up until and including December 8.

“It certainly is a community that comes together,” said Hull. “And unfortunately the need for hampers and assistance, it isn’t just at Christmas it certainly is year round. But at Christmas of course families who are really struggling, they try to provide a Christmas and try to provide gifts and often there isn’t enough money for food.

“So it just breaks my heart, I sit and live a good life thinking that somebody’s at home that maybe doesn’t have money for heat or enough money for food on a regular basis, much less a Christmas dinner and that empathy resonates throughout the town and that’s what really makes people come together for the various philanthropic causes around the city.”

One example of how the program has touched the lives of people in Cranbrook was included in the Chamber’s press release as follows:

“It was the 22nd of December 2012. There was a knock at the door, I answered it and no one was there. I ran over to the window to see out the front window to see who had just been there. I saw tail lights. I walked back to the door. A box wrapped around the outside with gift wrap had been left. I looked into it, there was a turkey, a hand full of potatoes, a bag of carrots, a can of corn, a can of cranberry, a pack of gravy four homemade buns and a box of stovetop stuffing. I won’t try to explain how it made me feel, I will simply say it did. It made me feel … Parts of me still wants to know who it was so I can hug them.”

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read