Penticton man's family covers cost of annual Soupateria Thanksgiving meal, in memory of their beloved father

Meals for needy in memory

Many Pentictonites will be guaranteed a Thanksgiving meal thanks to a generous donation in memory of a man who loved the community.

Mark Bedford, 92, died in early September after years serving his community through his work as a minister all over Western Canada.

His daughter, Kathy Fitzowich, decided a wonderful way to honour his memory would be to donate enough money to the Penticton Soupateria to cover their entire annual turkey dinner for those in need.

She spoke with her siblings, husband and children about the donation, and everyone agreed: Doing something over the Thanksgiving weekend that would make a difference would be a fitting decision.

"With him being a minister, we were very often in small locations in B.C. and Alberta," Fitzowich recalled.

"He was very much a part of what was happening in everybody's day-to-day lives. You knew who needed help, and you helped them."

She said that while growing up, the house they lived in would inevitably be close to the church her dad was serving at, and nobody would every be turned away.

"We would have people coming to the house, looking for support and looking for assistance. Certainly when we were in the smaller communities, there would be times that we were helping people with food that was on our dinner table," Fitzowich said.

"That would have been back in the 60s and 70s. But I remember Dad would say 'Just a second, I'll get something,' and he would come and literally take something off of our table to help someone that was hungry outside."

Bedford spent his retirement in Penticton, though he still filled in as a minister at various churches around the South Okanagan during that time, and never lost his commitment to community service.

Fitzowich said nobody in her family hesitated for a second when the opportunity to donate to the Soupateria's Thanksgiving meal came up.

"It's in memory of our father and grand-father, and his faithful service to local communities in B.C. and Alberta during 60 years of work as a minister in the United Church of Canada."

The Soupateria is expecting to feed more than 150 people this Thanksgiving, possibly more. Need has increased this year due to inflation, and food costing more.

There are still plenty of ways to support the Soupateria beyond Thanksgiving. For more information, click here.

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