Moving to a new town, getting engaged to a partner, and bringing a new child into the world are big deals — and the Welcome Wagon has recently relaunched in the valley to commemorate such events.
Nearly 40 valley businesses support the non-profit welcome service, which offers gift baskets with more than $600 worth of goodies.
“I’m making about ten visits each month; about six to eight are for babies,” said local organizer Brenda Mitchell. “The valley’s getting inundated with lots of babies — it’s great.”
She said that Welcome Wagon visits to new homeowners are more common during the summer months, and credited the re-opening of the Canfor sawmill in Radium Hot Springs for many of the new additions.
The service covers from as far north as Brisco to Canal Flats in the south.
The Welcome Wagon finds newcomers to the valley through Canada Post, but requires that families be relocating from outside of the valley to qualify for the gift package.
The program is nationwide and was founded in 1930. Ms. Mitchell said the organization makes 300,000 visits a year across the country.
After on-again-and-off-again service of the Welcome Wagon in the valley, Ms. Mitchell decided to rehash the program last April, and said that it will continue for a long while.
“As long as I’m living in the valley, it’ll be here,” she said, adding she’s brought an assistant, Sandy Eason, on board. “I want to keep it growing. Like a parade — every year it has to keep getting bigger.”
“People will go to new places because of it,” she added. “Let’s say BeGifted is offering truffles (in the gift basket) – it will expose the truffles redeemer to the jewelry, dips, other gifts at that shop – people need to venture out.”
“What more can you ask for — you get a present from your town,” she said, noting every gift is completely free, with no conditions to buy other stuff.
The basket also includes a signed card from mayors Gerry Taft and Dee Conklin.
Because it was out of commission for a while, Ms. Mitchell said that the Welcome Wagon can be retro-activated for up to a year. She can be reached at 250-342-1678, for new inquiries or for tips of missed celebrations.
“If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, I would gladly advertise for your business and make you shine,” she said.