This unique initiative, funded in 2019 by Paul Docksteader Foundation, United Way Southern Interior BC, KGH Foundation, Central Okanagan Foundation, Kal Tire and Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation provides new car seats to families in financial need. The car seats are distributed to families in 13 communities throughout the Southern Interior BC thanks to a network of community partners who provide social services in these regions.

The Need

BCAA estimates as many as five per cent – roughly 23,000 – of children in British Columbia don’t use an approved child car seat when travelling by car, despite the clear advantages to using one. The unfortunate reality is that some kids go unprotected because their family simply cannot afford the expense of a car seat. Family poverty is a complex issue and affects 1 in 5 children in British Columbia.

United Way believes that no family should have to put their child’s safety at risk because of limited finances.

The Program

  • The Child Safety Initiative launched in 2015 as a partnership lead by United Way.
  • The goal is to provide convertible car seats to families in financial need – the seats are free to families, funded by the program partners and sponsors.
  • Car seats are distributed to families in need through 27 United Way charity partners in local & rural communities across the Okanagan including: Lake Country, Kelowna, West Kelowna (WFN), Summerland, Penticton, Oliver, Keremeos, Princeton, Vernon, Lumby, Enderby and Salmon Arm.
  • Demand is increasing – seats were allocated to families in a matter of days in 2019. BCAA estimates that 5% of children in BC (roughly 23,000) do not use approved child car seats due to difficult financial choices every day.
  • The initiative started with 84 seats delivered in 2015 and has grown to 169 car seats delivered in 2019.
  • We purchase Evenflo convertible car seats that adapt from a rear-facing infant seat, to forward-facing harnessed car seat, and belt-positioning booster. They grow as the child grows from newborns, through toddler years to children weighing 100 lbs.
  • The local agencies assessed the needs of applicants and distribute to the families. Those families interested in inquiring about a car seat need to contact their local community distributing agency directly.

The next round of deliveries will be August 2020. Stay tuned for more information or contact us for specifics.

Car Seat Safety Basics

Community and Corporate Partners

The 2019 Child Safety Initiative is a unique collaboration supported by the Paul Docksteader Foundation, Kal Tire,  local community foundations, and both hospital foundations in Kelowna and Vernon, all coordinated by the United Way Southern Interior BC. This enables the delivery of over 120 car seats to all regions that we support.

Thanks to other delivery and logistics partners, Costco provides car seats at a discounted rate and Idealease provides a cube van for delivery throughout the region.  The British Columbia Dragoons pitch in to help deliver car seats in their TAP-V armoured vehicle in Kelowna.

“I love to get involved in local projects where I can see instantly the difference being made, especially for vulnerable families and kids,” says Paul Docksteader, founder of the Paul Docksteader Foundation. “The United Way’s vision of making a positive difference in the communities in which we live is one which I echo at our Foundation. We are thrilled to support this collective action initiative which will ease the burden for so many struggling local families with little ones.”

Paul Docksteader, Paul Docksteader Foundation

Distribution Charity Partners

These charity partners act as distribution centres in each community and refer low-income families to the program.

North Okanagan – Shuswap:

  • Enderby & District Community Services Society
  • North Okanagan Friendship Centre (Vernon)
  • Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs (Vernon and Armstrong)
  • Shuswap Children’s Association (Salmon Arm)
  • Vernon Jubilee Hospital
  • Whitevalley Community Resource Centre (Lumby)

Central Okanagan:

  • Central Okanagan Family Hub (Rutland)
  • KCR – Community Resources (Kelowna)
  • Kelowna General Hospital Perinatal Unit
  • Lake Country Health Planning
  • Westbank First Nation Community Services

South Okanagan – Similkameen:

  • Desert Sun Resource and Counselling Centre (Oliver & Osoyoos)
  • Lower Similkameen Community Services Society (Keremeos)
  • OneSky Community Resources (Penticton & Area)
  • Princeton Family Services
  • Summerland Food Bank & Resource Centre

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