Penticton photographer running grad picture fundraiser for fifth year to help feed kids

Grad pics for a good cause

A local photographer with a passion for making sure school kids are fed is running a special fundraiser for the fifth year in a row.

Douglas Drouin started his fundraiser in 2020 after seeing pandemic closures impact kids' celebration of their academic achievements, as well as witnessing youth — who relied on various school system initiatives like the meals program — lose the ability to access them.

The goal was to support the School District 67 meals program while also providing a lower-cost grad photo option for families.

"Having grown up in a very lower income family, I know full well what it was like to be hungry on a daily basis. The individuals who ran those programs did everything in their powers to ensure that even with the closures, kids would still be benefitting from these programs and the kindness and hard work of some incredible local volunteers and dedicated people," Drouin said in an email.

Each year, Drouin has donated 50 per cent of all the money raised back into the school districts breakfast and lunch programs.

"I have curated by request some incredible locations across the Penticton area, and am hoping that I can see some amazing graduates again this year," he added.

Session fees are $200, with $100 of the money going directly to the Feedway Foundation at the end of the program once all session fees have been collected.

Every session comes with five images and lasts roughly 30 minutes.

"I always include, should parents be present, a family photo as a courtesy and have in fact opened these sessions to families as well as grads so it is not just graduate specific," Drouin said.

Additional images are available in three, five, 10, 15 and 20 image packages for grads and families. Locations are set by the week and sessions spots are limited to four a day.

"There is no limit to the size of groups I can accommodate, but always want to ensure I give grads and their families every minute I can. So for groups larger than two with families, I ensure I put 30 minute sessions together for each group/grad."

This week, Drouin will start at See Ya Later Ranch, with availability for the Thursday. Additional sessions are available at the 1912 in Kaleden.

The next week and sessions at the end of June will be at Linden Gardens, which include June 4, 5, 6, 18,19 and 20, with a potential for more spots on June 22 as well.

Photos on June 11, 12, 13 and 15 will be at the Ponderosa Point Resort in Kaleden.

There will also be make up sessions for the dates in between at the Summerland Ornamental Gardens on a per individual basis.

Spaces are still available and can be made online through Drouin’s Facebook page, here.

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