Penticton family recognized for work volunteering even while the pandemic forced shutdowns

Giving back during COVID

A Penticton woman, her husband and her daughter have been recognized for their above and beyond volunteerism during the worst of the COVID-19 shutdown. 

"We are slightly embarrassed and overwhelmed, because volunteering is something we've done in our family for generations, it's something we've always done," Joan Mason said. 

It all started when they were helping out some local individuals who weren't able to go out and shop, and one asked whether they could pick up a box of chocolate chip cookies while they were at the store. 

"And we said, we'll bring them chocolate chip cookies, but we'll bake them chocolate chip cookies!" 

It snowballed from there until she were delivering batches of cookies to between two and seven people a week along with their regular volunteering doing errands for numerous people whose mobility was restricted by the pandemic. 

Total Restoration caught wind when they were holding a giveaway contest, asking the community to nominate people in the community who had been giving back during the lockdown so they could award a prize package. 

"We were looking for someone who we felt really made a difference.  A couple people submitted the Masons and what they had done, and when we looked into it we decided to pick them," said Tracy Van Raes, community relations manager with Total Restoration. 

The Masons received the $700 prize package — a state-of-the-art cooler filled to the brim with local beer, wine and ciders, along with local meats from T-Bones — ready for an incredible backyard barbecue. 

Mason said they are planning to do just that, inviting two other couples who they work with frequently in their volunteering for a celebration. 

But prizes aren't the reason Mason volunteers, and she said they plan to pay it forward. 

"We're going to donate to the Food Bank and Starfish Pack program, we're going to donate some money to them," she said. 

She also to inspire others to take up the cause of volunteering in the community as well. 

Van Raes said Total Restoration will be opening another contest soon to recognize a local business that has pivoted its model during COVID-19, with information upcoming on Castanet. 

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