Christopher Society keeps on giving

Christopher Society of Penticton trustees present $50,000 for Penticton Regional Hospital to Carey Bornn of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation. The trustees, all Knights of Columbus Council 3127 members, include president Jim Calvert (front centre), Dennis Ebner, and (back row from left) Len Breault, Rene Barone, Rick Wheeler and Woody Aschenbrenner. Missing from photo is Gene Lukey.

Seventeen years after the sale of the former Christopher Centre in Penticton, the Christopher Society keeps on giving.

Their latest gift provides a $50,000 boost to the South Okanagan Similkameen (SOS) Medical Foundation’s campaign to fund the medical equipment for the $312.5-million Penticton Regional Hospital expansion.

The Christopher Society of Penticton has direct ties with the Knights of Columbus Council 3127 and St. Ann’s Catholic Church. The society was formed in 1965 to oversee construction of a new hall  the Christopher Centre  near Skaha Lake Road and Green Avenue.

Christopher Society president Jim Calvert said the centre was a busy place for the first several years  hosting two bingo nights a week, dances, weddings and other events. However, by the late 1990s such bookings started to drop and the property was eventually sold in 2000 to a church organization for $600,000.

Since then the Christopher Society has donated interest funds generated from the building’s sale to local charities, including the SOS Medical Foundation.

Calvert said all seven trustees on their board voted unanimously to make a sizable donation to the hospital equipment campaign.

We have the money and we decided we should contribute. We’ve maintained the principal which is still $600,000 and give the rest away to charity, he said. Because of the drop in interest rates in recent years, we haven’t been able to give away as much as we used to, but the $50,000 that we’re giving to the hospital is still part of the interest.

This marks the second time the Christopher Society has donated to the hospital tower campaign, having previously contributed $5,000 in 2015.

Major donors to the SOS Medical Foundation’s PRH equipment drive can apply to have their names linked with patient rooms or clinics in the new tower. For more information phone 250-492-9027 or visit their website

Construction of the six-storey David E. Kampe Tower is progressing well and should be ready for patients in early 2019. A major upgrade to the hospital’s Emergency Department is planned for Phase 2.