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Rice Box cooks for a cause
North Okanagan residents are getting ready to flock to the Rice Box for its fifth annual Wokathon on Sunday.
Buy Asian taste temptations and support children, locally at Vernon Jubilee Hospital (VJH) and overseas via the Cambodia Support Group (CSG). All revenue, not just profit, is split each year between the two charities. Staff donate wages and tips, and volunteers help to make the day exciting, efficient and profitable.
To help the day go smoothly and maintain highest quality, customers are asked to order online at www.thericebox.com. Those who have already used the Text-to-Order service may also order that way.
More than $26,000 has been raised in the past four years. For VJH, Rice Box funds joined the annual Radiothon revenue to purchase equipment for the Labour, Delivery, Recovery, and Post-Partum Rooms in the new VJH Polson Tower.
Proprietor On Ouch and his wife May enjoyed a happy bonus when their second child, Ava, was born there. Adding to his proud-parent joy, On waxed enthusiastic about VJH.
“We were so appreciative,” he said. “It was over-the-top. Medical people were friendly and caring around the clock, facilities were great, and the new wing has space and privacy for time with family.”
On serves on the VJH board and supports local sports and other activities.
On’s family has a close link to CSG. In 1989 father Ath, mother Loeung and their children found themselves — after eight years in Cambodian refugee camps — embraced by community support in Vernon.
“They somehow slipped through a wormhole,” said CSG president Arne Sahlen, “in the tortuous twists of Canadian immigration. We guess at a family-file prodded along by someone determined to give this family a break.”
Of course, how it happened does not matter in the end. CSG brought a sponsorship request, and Vernon responded warmly.
“The parents and four children have done splendidly here, and they give back to both Cambodia and Canada. Few could match and none could beat this super success story,” said Sahlen.
CSG has three decades of Cambodia links. Its partner agency Self-Help for Success (SHS) grew from the vision of polio survivor Samnang Kheav, who himself slipped through a kind of wormhole to link with CSG.
“His first name means Lucky — and we are very lucky to know him,” said Sahlen.
SHS works with CSG to serve poor and disabled children with care, respect and family support.
“I have seen the work first hand, and guarantee its pure focus and impact,” said Sahlen.
One new feature at this year’s Wokathon: magnificent Cambodian silks and other materials will be on sale to raise funds.
The Wokathon takes place Sunday from noon to 7:30 p.m. The Rice Box is at 3104C-27th St. in Vernon, next to 7-Eleven, near Beairsto school and across from the courthouse.