Salvation Army director honoured

Christine Simmons, community ministries director for The Salvation Army Penticton was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal on Sunday.

Simmons was given the award by Mayor Dan Ashton in front of a crowd of about 100 people at the Salvation Army church service.

Simmons was one of 33 recipients of the award, announced by Food Banks Canada late last year.

The individuals were chosen because of the significant impact they have made in the food banking community.

The medals are bestowed in recognition of the queen's 60th anniversary of her ascension to the throne.

Simmons, who was moved to tears during the ceremony, said she was very honoured to be chosen along with the 32 other recipients.

" I feel I am sharing it with all the wonderful people I've worked with over the years," she said. "To my church family, whose love and support is phenomenal and to those here from our community, I say thank you, and to everyone who made this day special, I say thank you.

I think we are a stop gap for a lot of people who have difficulty making ends meet. People work very hard to support their families, but sometimes the money runs out before the end of the month. So then we step in to help them through the rough patch."

Simmons moved to Penticton over a decade ago and building on her experience working with The Salvation Army in Terrace, began to develop the Salvation Army Community Food Bank in Penticton.

At that time the food bank was smaller than  it is today.

Today it is a doorway for more than 11,000 Penticton and area individuals, much of that thanks to Simmons' hard work.

Over the years she devoted herself to creating a system of services that provide resource, emergency shelter, referral, support groups, community kitchen and nutrition education and emergency food to the most at risk individuals in the  community, according to information provided by the food bank.

 "I've known Christine for a long time and this is very well deserved, because she puts her heart and soul into the community," said Ashton.

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