SOAICL flea market celebrates 15 years

SOAICL flea market celebrates 15 years

President Margaret Ogilvie, Vice President Pat Unger and Volunteer Valorie Paolera were among those celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Southern Okanagan Association for Integrated Community Living (SOAICL) Flea Market. (Richard McGuire photo)

There was coffee and cake on Easter Saturday as a busy flea market in Osoyoos celebrated a successful 15 years.

The flea market below Double O Bikes, next to Tim Hortons, raises money for the Southern Okanagan Association for Integrated Community Living (SOAICL), which helps a number of adults with special needs in Osoyoos and Oliver.

It’s a busy place with a continuous flow of people up and down the stairs from the basement location in search of bargains donated by people in the community.

Pat Unger, vice president of the SOAICL auxiliary, says the flea market sells everything from silver tea sets to camping gear, to furniture, stoves, shoes and books. Just about everything except clothing.

“We do not sell clothing,” said Unger. “If we get any donations of clothing, we send them to the United Church (thrift shop).”

The flea market is open each Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

It takes many volunteers to sort through the donations, which can be picked up from local homes.

Unger said the number of volunteers fluctuates between 25 and 40, with more when there are snowbirds in the area.

They tend to be retired people, often in their 60s and 70s. Some, like Unger, have family members with special needs.

The money raised helps to provide a caring environment for about 38 clients.

This means giving them Christmas gifts and helping them with various financial needs throughout the year, Unger said.

SOAICL is also able to hire some adults with special needs, who take turns on the truck, picking up donations, or moving furniture in the flea market.

Volunteers are always welcome, Unger said, and they can help on Wednesday mornings to sort through the donations.

“If we have a lot of donations, especially in the summer, we will do Wednesday and Thursday mornings,” said Unger. “Then the men come in on Friday to place the furniture.”

Unger said the auxiliary started in Oliver, but the flea market has operated the past 15 years in Osoyoos.

The basement location, however, has undergone numerous changes over its 15 years, including a major renovation in 2015.

Both Unger and President Margaret Ogilvie have been with the flea market since its inception, with Ogilvie serving as president for much of that time.

If people wish to donate items, they can call Mike Bell at 250-498-7368 to arrange pickups.

By Richard McGuire