To kick off the holiday season, dozens of families attended Kelowna’s 24th annual Tree of Hope light-up event near the pedestrian bridge in the Landmark District on Thursday (Nov. 25).

Christmas cheer was in the air as classic yuletide tunes serenaded crowds as soon as the tree’s lights turned on at 5:15 p.m. Santa hats and warm drinks were also distributed to boost the festive mood. The event was also live-streamed for those who could not attend in person.

The Stober Foundation, the private foundation that organizes the event, partnered with local non-profits NOW Canada and Karis Support Society, two organizations that help vulnerable women and children in Kelowna by providing counselling services and safe housing. Together, they hope to raise awareness of women at risk, harm reduction strategies and safe recovery.

“Together, these local non-profits help women transition from a life of addiction, abuse, exploitation, and mental health challenges to a life in recovery and independence,” said the Stober Foundation.

“In the past year, working together, they served 243 women in their recovery and affordable housing programs, this impacted approximately 83 children and babies.”

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