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Santa Bus celebrates 10 years

Santa, Mrs. Claus and several elves will spend much of the next week travelling throughout the Central Okanagan in the recently decorated Santa Bus.

The bus, in its 10th year of operation, was decorated by last week by elves and numerous volunteers from Kelowna Regional Transit.

The Santa Bus will travel to numerous schools and businesses between now and Sunday, December 15, collecting toys, food and money for the Salvation Army Christmas Fund.

The bus stopped by Kelowna City Hall Monday afternoon giving mayor and council a chance to tour the bus and and put in their request with Santa.

Major Ron Cartmell with the Salvation Army says it's always exciting when the new bus is unveiled.

"Every year they make some new additions to it. I was at the terminal when they were starting the effort Friday," says Cartmell. "They've come a long way.

"I guess the exciting thing for me is the people who do this donate their time - they take holidays to do this. What a wonderful way to give back to the community."

While he doesn't have specific numbers, Cartmell says the donations that have come in over the past nine years have made a significant difference to those in need of a helping hand over the Christmas season.

While there is always going to be need within the community, Cartmell says what is gratifying to him is hearing from people who have been helped in recent years.

"It's exciting when a family comes in and says 'I've had to depend on the Salvation Army for the last two or three years for a Christmas hamper but I am back on my feet and I would like to help another family. How can I do that,'" says Cartmell.

"To be able to journey with a family and help them in practical ways while they get back back on their feet. That's really a tremendous Christmas present in our minds." 

Along with the many stops in the community throughout the day, the Santa Bus will also take part in the annual 'Parade of Lights' Friday and Saturday evening co-sponsored by Castanet, Q103, Power 104 and Costco.

Click here for a complete list of where you will be able to catch the Santa Bus.

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