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The Great Okanagan Holiday Fundraiser For Soda!

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A lot of you might know me from the images I have taken around Penticton and the South Okanagan. Or the endeavours I have engaged in with my business. Like taking photos of our amazing local graduates to raise money for the local school meals programs to help feed students in need. Or the Santa Photos I took for years at our local mall to raise money for the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation.

Well today I am actually doing something different, and it is something I have never had any motivation to engage in. Today I am actually and actively raising money for a family that owns a local business that has recently had life hand it to them in spades. Believe me; this is weird for me too.

Around 2 weeks ago a house fire left some residents of our area here in Penticton without a home. While it didn't destroy their home; as it was a shared condo unit and they lost all of their clothing, bedding, toys for their boy and more. This was all supposed to be temporary....until it wasn't. Don't worry; I'll get to that

These residents happen to be the owners of a local business many of us are familiar with. What isn't know, is that when this fire started one of the owners of that business was effectively in labour. They; along with their 16 month old son were evacuated from their home with and barely 48 hours later they welcomed their new son William in to the world. Cute little guy isn't he?

Still following? Awesome

So Kyle and Jess happen to own a local business named Soda Creek Soap. I think we're all fairly acquainted with their products and from seeing their smiling faces at almost every local market.

When the fire happened I reached out to them to see what I could do to help. Being a local business owner and father I know how hard things can be. We all rallied together and they managed to find a place which in itself in Penticton is a miracle. The issue is, when they were evacuated they lost everything regarding soft goods. This included clothing (Jessica's emergency bag for the hospital) their sons items and bedding etc and other assorted things. As the fire did not actively destroy everything they were just waiting to be allowed back in to their place.

And this is where things go sideways. Yes, because being in active labour when a fire starts in your home and being evacuated with just the clothes on your backs and a 16 month old isn't sideways enough? Wait for it.

They were told the place they were living in was deemed unfit for habitation for a duration of time. Meaning they were out on their own with a newborn, a toddler and they were unable to work to create new product with everything going on. Amazingly they found an available Air BnB which they were in for a short time and managed to secure long term housing in the area which is a huge thing.

Until it wasn't. Oh yes, this actually gets even more awful.

So Kyle went back to get their things after finding this new place. But guess what. If you're familiar with things in Penticton you know where this is going. Kyle went to retrieve their stuff and that's right. Someone had broken in to their place and stolen everything that wasn't nailed down. Appliances, jewelry electronics even Kyle's family heirloom a Sgian Dubh he wore to his wedding (Kyle's Scottish so that's always a huge plus) and effectively everything of value that could be sold or pawned.

So if you're hazy on what has happened so far let me catch you up to speed.

  • Family of 3 including 16 month old boy evacuated from burning house
  • Mom was in technical labour when fire happened
  • Unable to work in their business
  • Found a home went back to get things and found out they'd been robbed

So here is where you and I come in. Full disclosure, Kyle and Jess are actually really cool people. But this makes them feel incredibly awkward. It's not a pride thing; it's a "we don't deserve this and there's people out there that need help more than we do" thing. With all of this happening and everything that has gone on, they still don't want this attention or the knowledge that they might be getting assistance where others would need it more.

The bottom line is; it's Christmas in exactly one month. This is a solid local family many of you know from either the early morning radio or from the Soda Creek Soap business they own. I don't know how this works and I have never considered setting up a GoFundMe before but this is how you can help and where the money will go.

Purchase from their store online here:

They don't want to feel like anyone would be helping them for nothing. So by purchasing anything from their store you can help alleviate that feeling for them. We've all been kicked before but this is being kicked while you're down over and over and over again.

You can book a full family session with me at Douglas Drouin Portraiture where every full session booked and shot will see the proceeds going towards Kyle and Jess.

Or you can donate through this endeavour. The money raised will go to help paying for the costs of housing, replacing stolen items and things lost to the fire as well as maybe helping ease some small amount of the financial stress of a fire, a break in and being unable to operate their business over the last few weeks.

I have always been a huge proponent of giving back when you can. Growing up in Penticton I didn't have much and now that I am in a position to help I take every opportunity I can. I've engaged in some pretty amazing projects with some pretty amazing people for some pretty awesome reasons. This one though; this one is personal and quite close to the heart.

So thanks for following along. I will update this as frequently as possible and whatever your reason for helping or not helping. I appreciate you for looking over this and for following along.


  • Shaw Shawn
    • $50 
    • 4 mos
  • Nancy Schmidt
    • $50 
    • 4 mos
  • Kate Sauberli
    • $40 
    • 4 mos
  • Beverly Ireland
    • $100 
    • 5 mos
  • Ranada Pritchard
    • $100 
    • 5 mos


Douglas Drouin
Penticton, BC

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